The coronavirus shutdown, which has closed down professional sport throughout the world, has seen sports writers and commentators scrambling to find copy to write and talk about.

With plenty of space to fill, rumours and gossip currently find their way into some mainstream and secondary media to fill the gaps in real sporting news.

Professional boxing, which has always been a hotbed of intrigue, half truths and outrageous statements, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week.

This long-time fan of the sport that has origins that can be traced back to 4000BC, nearly burst out laughing with the announcement that Sonny Bill Williams wanted to fight Mike Tyson, who had supposedly announced a comeback to the ring.

I didn't know what was more bizarre - that Tyson wanted to box again at the age of 53 years old in a charity fundraiser or that SWB wanted to engage in combat with Tyson.

While SWB is a superb athlete on the footy field, his performances in his seven appearances in the ring suggests that he couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag.

Tyson supposedly came out swinging to the SWB proposal saying that he wanted to fight a 'real' boxer.

The other piece of hyperbole that raised plenty of eyebrows came from Joseph Parker's manger David Higgins.

Boxing promoters and managers are by definition masters of spin, who will hype up their boxers opponent in order to raise the profile of the fight, which is all about selling more tickets or PPV (Pay Per View) sales.

Before the fight, promoters and managers will say, such as, our boys opponent has a rock solid chin - which is promoter/manager speak for he's lost his last eight fights.

Or he's been in the ring with the best in the business - which means he never stood a chance and was knocked out in round one.

Higgins was attempting to keep his boxer in the media limelight by suggesting that Parker could fight an Australian opponent in front of an exclusive small audience of less than one hundred fight fans, to get around the ban on the limited gathering numbers.

Supposedly, a fight against 42-year-old Lucas Brown or unbeaten unknown Dempsey McKean would make money from the worldwide PPV sales. The reality is that the proposal will never get off the ground, as the bout would have little appeal to most fight fans.

Joseph Parker followers will just have to be patient as there is no certainty when boxing will resume.

A more likely scenario is a Kiwi match-up between Joseph and unbeaten Junior Fa, who twice beat Parker in the amateur ranks.

Junior Fa has run his record to 19-0 including six victories in the furnace of boxing in the United States.

While some time in the future, a promotion along the lines of the David Tua verses Shane Cameron 'Fight of the Century' could bring a fight that would have the punters lining up in their thousands in New Zealand again.


Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian