The NBC Sports Network today announced that Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach and cruiserweight contender B.J. Flores team up with NBC’s veteran broadcaster Kenny Rice to provide commentary for the network’s new NBC Sports Network Fight Night Series.
The first Fight Night broadcast will be on the new NBC Sports Network on Saturday, January 21st beginning at 9 p.m. ET when heavyweight contenders Eddie Chambers and Sergei Liakhovich face off live from Philadelphia’s historic Asylum Arena.
Roach, the five time BWAA Trainer-of-the-Year, currently trains eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, among many others, at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. A protégé of the late, great Eddie Futch, Roach is regarded as one of professional boxing’s best and most popular trainer. In addition to his work as a trainer, Roach owns the Wild Card Club/Gym in Los Angeles where, alongside his brother Pepper, he fosters the development of young boxers. On January 20, HBO will premiere a six-episode series on Roach that takes an intensely personal look at the world-famous boxing trainer. The series chronicles his life and career against the backdrop of his daily battle with Parkinson’s disease.
A former U.S. amateur heavyweight champion, the articulate Flores will interrupt his own boxing training – he is headlining an event on January 28th, in Springfield, Missouri – to make his NBC announcing debut. Flores has carved out an alternate career in broadcasting, while continuing to pursue his dream of adding a professional world title to his many accomplishments. A frequent guest analyst on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, Flores fought his first two professional fights on NBC Sports broadcasts in May of 2003. His professional record stands at 24 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw.
Rice, who has served as NBC’s Olympic boxing reporter, has called boxing matches on HD Net since 2005 and has hosted a weekly Inside MMA series on HD Net since 2007. Rice has covered horse racing for NBC since 1999, reporting on the network’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup, and, in 2008, he hosted NBC’s Olympic equestrian competition. In addition, Rice covered the U.S. Olympic Trials in both triathlon and equestrian and has reported on the NFL for NBC’s Football Night in America. Rice has also done play-by-play for track and field, rugby, and basketball, as well as the Pro Bull Riders World Finals.
Additionally, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated will serve as reporter and researcher for the NBC Sports Network Fight Night Series.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–
To find NBC Sports Network on your TV, visit http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/ and use the NBC Sports Network Channel Finder on the right-hand side of the webpage.
Eddie Chambers and Philly Fighters Welcome NBC Sports Network
During a recent media event at Joe Hand Gym Boxing Gym in Philadelphia, fighters, promoters and network officials agreed that getting back to boxing basics in the City of Brotherly Love was just what the doctor ordered.
Gary Quinn, Senior Director, Program Planning and Aquisitions, NBC Sports Group, explained how Philadelphia ties in to the NBC Sports Network Fight Night game plan, “What we think puts us in a unique position to make this series succeed is now that we have the NBC Sports Group formulated, we’ve got 4 media platforms: we’ve got the NBC broadcast network; we’ve got the 24/7 NBC Sports Network; we have the 12 regional sports networks; and our digital platforms. It’s no coincidence that we are here in Philadelphia where we have one of the strongest RSN’s (Regional Sports Network) with CSN (Comcast SportsNet) Philly.”
Quinn added, “So you can say, ‘okay you’ve got the promotional platform, but you’ve got to have the product to make it work.’ We think we do. We’ve come up with a model that resembled what we did back in the day when The Fight Doctor (Ferdie Pacheco) said, ‘The key is putting crossroads fights on. You don’t have to worry about titles; you don’t have to worry about records. You want to match styles that will put on a good show.’ We feel Kathy (Duva) and Russell (Peltz) have done a great job on this card from top to bottom. That’s going to be the theme, to put on wars that have our viewers wanting more and more.”
Kathy Duva, CEO Main Events, explained the location for the debut show, “Philadelphia has a powerful boxing history and many avid boxing fans, we want to use that to make our show successful. Five of the eight bouts on this amazing card feature fighters that are from Philly. We want people in the audience that are from Philadelphia, so that everyone in the arena has a rooting interest, so we know they are going to make a lot of noise. This is why we chose Philly fighters like Gabriel Rosado and Ray Robinson to be on the undercard, they make terrific fights and have a big following. This will make for a great night in the arena and on TV.”
Ray Robinson, 12-2, 5 KO’s, will be in an 8 round welterweight fight against Doel Carasquillo, of Frederica, DE, 16-18-1, 14 KO’s. He assured the crowd that he was ready to put on a great show, “This is going to be an action-packed fight. Anybody that knows me knows I bring the fight. I’m a great boxer. I’ve trained hard enough for anything. I’ll make sure that it’s going to be a great fight on January 21st because it is on my birthday!”
Fellow Philadelphian, Gabriel Rosado, 18-5, 10 KO’s, faces Jesus Soto Karass of Los Mochis, 24-6-3, 16 KO’s, in what promises to be a 10 round junior welterweight war. Rosado ensured his fans that he was ready to give them a rousing show, “I am excited about this card. Soto Karass is a tough guy and I am excited to make a statement. I am going to show that I am a heavy hitter at 154. It’s going to be one helluva fight. Soto Karass is gonna bring it. I’m ready for everything. I have a big following and they’re all gonna come. I can’t wait.”
Kathy Duva spoke of choosing the main event for the NBCSN Fight Night debut show, “When the time comes to try to actually make the fights that everybody wants to see, you find out it’s a lot harder than you thought it might be. As we went through the list, we found consistently that in the heavyweight division there were a lot more people willing to fight each other than anywhere else. And I think that that’s a good thing.” She went on to say, “There’s a lot of talk about how the heavyweight division isn’t what it used to be. Well I’ll tell you, in recent years the only opportunity for heavyweights was to wait their turn to go to Germany and get beat up by one of the Klitschko’s. That does not make for becoming a better fighter, that does not cause anyone to learn or get better. What makes a great fighter is that they have to be in competitive fights, they have to learn as they go along.”
“We were delighted when we were able to make arrangements with Eddie Chamber’s promoter, Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor to bring him to this show. He hasn’t fought in Philadelphia in a very long time, so this is a bit of a homecoming for him. He is one of the top heavyweights in the world and he has agreed to fight another one of the top heavyweights in the world, Sergei Liakhovich. This is exactly the kind of match we were looking for. They both have a lot at stake, they are both going to come in and do their best, and they’re both going to try to win,” Duva concluded.
Philadelphia resident, Eddie Chambers, 36-2, 18 KO’s, was in very good spirits as he discussed his upcoming battle with Sergei Liakhovich, Scottsdale, AZ, 25-4, 16 KO’s, on NBC Sports Network, “I’d really like to thank NBC for stepping up to the plate and trying to bring boxing back to what it used to be. I hate to disappoint NBC because they want competitive fights and all, but in my opinion this is not going to be a competitive fight.” He confidently boasted, “I got a lot of respect for Sergei; he’s been a world champion; a really good fighter; but I think I’m a little more advanced than he is! I think I pose a lot of threats to him. I’ve watched some his tapes, and some of the things he’s done. It doesn’t hurt that I am probably in the best shape that I’ve ever been in. I think it’s not going to be easy, but I think what I bring to the table is going to be too much for him to handle.”