Philadelphia hosted 22 professional boxing cards in 2006. This does not include fights just outside the city limits. Numbers have dropped off since then: 22 in 2007, 17 in 2008, 19 in 2009, 13 in 2010 and 7 in 2011. It is sad that Philadelphia’s most historic sport is diminishing so quickly.
What has changed and what has not? There are plenty of fighters here. There are promoters and managers and trainers and gyms and just about everything boxing needs except buildings in which to accommodate the fights.
Philadelphia has hosted just five fights this year, not including shows at Harrah’s Philadelphia (formerly Harrah’s Chester) since, technically, the casino is not located within the city But seriously, five fight cards? Fighters and fans are not happy.
What are fans willing to give up? It is beginning to look like high school gyms may be considered as venues, which would mean no alcohol. Would that affect your decision to attend?
With the South Philadelphia Arena under renovation and the Blue Horizon shut down and looking for a buyer, the search for Philadelphia boxing venues continues. It is a shame that the only building fight fans can associate with is the National Guard Armory on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia.
There are some venues still willing to host boxing, but with outrageous rental fees. The numerous smaller arenas that Philadelphia once boasted of have disappeared. If venues such as Union Transfer on Spring Garden Street or the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall on Columbus Boulevard, or our local universities would work with us we would be able to get something off the ground. Don’t hold your breath!
The South Philadelphia Arena is under re-construction until the middle of 2013 and the Blue Horizon remains in limbo.
Fight fans would love for the Legendary Blue Horizon (left) to reopen. The alleged sale of the building, reported in the local media, has hit a snag.
With Philadelphia fighters on national TV thanks to the NBC Sports Network Fight Night series, it makes local fight fans miss the Blue Horizon even more. In a dream world someone with the money to buy the building would have done it already and would know that it’s easier to fix what is broken than to start something new.
In the meantime Philadelphia will continue to make a new home at Harrah’s Philadelphia, thanks to Joey Eye Promotions. Hopefully more venues will open and we can host more shows closer to home.
The author is a Temple University graduate who is now a part of Peltz Boxing. Follow us on twitter @Peltzboxing and our intern @BAMBoxingInc