On Saturday, October 17, Professional Fighters League Lightweight Clay Collard (9-2-3, 4KOs) will appear in a boxing match on ESPN for the fourth time since June, when he takes on undefeated Quincy LaVallais (9-0-1, 5 KOs) in a rematch from June, 2019 where the two fought to a draw.
For Collard, 2020 has been a whirlwind of sorts. Saturday night isn’t just any fight card either. Collard will be participating in the main card broadcast on ESPN of the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez undisputed lightweight card. If it wasn’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, Collard might not have found himself in this position. Odds are he would have been six months into the PFL season by now having not fought one boxing match in 2020.
Although he’s created quite the buzz among fans and within the halls of Top Rank’s Las Vegas offices, While Collard isn’t going to win fighter of the year, he could certainly find himself on the final ballot according to The Ring Magazine and Boxing Writers Association of America President Joe Santoliquito. When I asked one of the executives at Top Rank why they are so fond of Collard, the answer was simple. “He moves the needle.”
There’s something about Collard that has captured the general public’s attention while he was fighting during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking advantage of every second of air time he was presented with on ESPN. While some may scoff at the idea of Collard getting this much airtime, you can’t blame ESPN for wanting him back. Eyeballs are eyeballs and regardless of whether or not some feel Collard is more of a sideshow than potential world title contender, the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter. What matters is that his unorthodox style of boxing, heavily influenced by his MMA style has garnered the interest from the casual fan.