Fox’s ‘PBC Countdown’ Series Debut Exposes Charlo Brothers—And Boxing—To Wider Audience
By Jake Donovan
From brand inception through present day, the brass at Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) have looked past mounting criticism of its product with its eyes on the bigger picture.
Its parternship with Fox Sports has already begun to show why patience remains a virtue.
The rebranding of the PBC on Fox primetime boxing series—which was formally announced during a glossy press conference on November 13—is due to launch with a December 22 tripleheader live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event will kick off a lucrative multi-year agreement between PBC and Fox Sports, with live shows due to run monthly in primetime on Fox and FS1.
The first show under the new agreement is headlined by the Charlo twins—Jermall and Jermell—in separate title bouts, marking the first time either Charlo serves in the main event of a primetime boxing telecast after years of frequently playing in supporting capacity on cable giant Showtime. Jermall (27-0, 21KOs) defends his interim middleweight title versus Willie Monore, Jr. (23-3, 6KOs) in the main event, while Jermell (31-0, 15KOs) defends his 154-pound strap versus Tony Harrison (27-2, 21KOs) in the co-feature.
Both bouts served as the first offerings of Fox’s ‘PBC Countdown’ series, airing this past Saturday immediately following the network’s live coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup series. ‘PBC Countdown: Jermall Charlo vs. Willie Monroe Jr.’ drew a favorable 1.0 overnight rating (roughly 1.2 million viewers; final figures to come Tuesday morning) for its 11:00pm timeslot, doing well on an active sports night to hold the majority of the audience from MLS Cup, which at 1.35 million viewers drew its best televised audience since 1998.
The 11:30pm-slotted ‘PBC Countdown: Jermell Charlo vs. Tony Harrison’ special pulled a 0.6 overnight rating.
“The PBC’s entire mission has been to find a partnership that will allow boxing to reach a mass audience and we believe we’ve found that partner in FOX,” Tim Smith, vice president of communication for PBC told BoxingInsider.com. “Having an opportunity to reach a potential audience of 120 million viewers on a regular monthly basis with events and other shows is a real game changer for the sport.”
The launching of ‘PBC Countdown’ comes on the heels of network promos for the December 22 telecast having frequently run during every edition of NFL (National Football League) on Fox since the initial November 13 network presser.
The latest batch came in Sunday’s Game of the Week offering, where the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles in an overtime thriller which produced a 16.0 overnight rating, the best for any NFL afternoon game this season. Promos for the Charlos’ bouts were also part of network coverage which drew more than 50 million viewers for pro and college football a week ago, as well as back-to-back Thursday Night Football telecasts on Fox—both featuring the Cowboys in games watched by more than 53 million combined viewers.
Network promos will continue to run throughout this Thursday’s edition of NFL on Fox, pitting the 11-2 Kansas City Chiefs versus the 10-3 Los Angeles Chargers in a game with major playoff implications at stake. The Charlos will garner more exclusive coverage this Saturday afternoon, starring in the network’s debut of ‘PBC Face-To-Face’ series hosted by award-winning sports writer Mike Coppinger.
Similar coverage will come with every edition of PBC on Fox. The next primetime edition will air January 26—also live from Brooklyn, New York—followed by shows on February 14 and March 9 leading into the debut of “PBC on Fox Pay-Per-View”, headlined by Errol Spence Jr. in a welterweight title defense versus Mikey Garcia, who moves up from lightweight in a battle of unbeaten pound-for-pound entrants.
Spence and Garcia have both benefitted from NFL exposure, each making separate appearances at Cowboys Stadium for November 22 and November 29 games which aired live on Fox.
The November 22 Thanksgiving edition drew 30.8 million viewers, while the November 29 showing—in which the Cowboys upset the NFL-best New Orleans Saints—drew more than 21 million viewers, the best-ever showing for any NFL Thursday Night Football installment (excluding Thanksgiving games) since the primetime series debuted five years ago.
“Our boxers have made in game appearances on NFL broadcasts that have been viewed by tens of millions of people,” Smith points out. “[T]he Charlos, who fight on December 22 have been the beneficiaries of the first Countdown show and teases of their upcoming fights during each NFL game on FOX since the fight was announced.
“That’s the kind of complete commitment that will foster real growth in the sport. We’re excited about the 2019 season of PBC on FOX.”
PBC and Fox/Fox Sports Sign Major 4 Year TV Deal
FOX Sports today announced it has reached a landmark four-year, multi-platform agreement with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) making FOX Sports the preeminent broadcaster for PBC’s top-tier championship fights featuring its biggest and brightest stars. The announcement was made by Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports and Alan Haymon, President and CEO of Haymon Sports, creator of the PBC series.
“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with the PBC in coming years and take the world’s best boxers to the next level by exposing them to the widest possible audiences across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes,” said Silverman. “While FOX Sports has been invested in boxing as a key property on both FS1 and FOX Deportes, this will be the first time in more than 30 years that boxing will be regularly featured in prime time on network television.”
“We are pleased to continue with FOX Sports to showcase our unrivaled roster of more than 160 of the best boxers in the world, including 60 current and former world champions in the weight divisions that most excite the fans,” says Tim Smith, Vice President of Communications for Haymon Sports. “The PBC on FOX will bring the fans the best boxing and bring our boxers and the sponsors the biggest audience as we continue to pursue the goal of returning this great sport to mainstream prominence.”
With the four-year deal, the FOX broadcast network will feature 10 marquee fight nights in prime time each year, while FS1 and FOX Deportes will telecast 12 fight nights annually. The package includes FOX Sports-PBC Pay-Per-View events. The Emmy Award-winning FOX Sports production team will produce all the live events and more than 175 hours of original PBC boxing content per year across its channels.
“FOX Sports is delighted to support PBC fights with a robust boxing programming lineup across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes, including a variety of prefight and postfight shows,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. “In addition, FOX Sports will promote PBC events across FOX’s multiple platforms, networks and powerful sports programming line-up, which includes the NFL, Major League Baseball, college football, college basketball, NASCAR, USGA, MLS and WWE SmackDown programming.”
To build anticipation for each fight, FOX Sports will surround each fight night on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes with top-level ancillary programming including multiple episodes of behind-the-scenes shows on FOX, fight-countdown preview shows, press conferences, fighter face-off shows, weigh-ins and prefight and postfight shows on FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes. This programming line-up also includes two studio-based PBC-branded shows a month on FOX and FS1, with PBC boxer interviews and profiles. Fight cards will have televised preliminary fights on FOX, FS1 or FS2 and FOX Deportes.
All PBC on FOX Sports events and programming will be streamed live on the FOX Sports app, available in English or Spanish through the FOX, FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. FOX Sports will offer a platform inside the app to allow viewers to stream the PPV events. In addition, boxing and the PBC will be prominently featured across the FOX Sports website, apps and social platforms.
FOX Sports and FOX Deportes will announce on-air personalities, as well as upcoming airdates and times soon.
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will return to his home state at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to defend his title against top rated and unbeaten heavyweight contender Gerald Washington live on the Fox network.
The co-main event of the night will be between Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Fox Sports 1 will also feature some of the undercard bouts, which include a heavyweight fight between Dominic Breazeale and Izuagbe Ugonoh as well as rising prospect Caleb Plant.
The following is a preview of the two title fights set to be televised on Saturday night.
Tony Harrison (24-1) vs. Jarrett Hurd (19-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
The first world title fight to be televised will be a very competitive one and is a tough bout to pick.
Harrison and Hurd have very similar physical characteristics. Surprisingly, both boxers are 6’1” tall and both fighters have a reach of 76 ½”. Both boxers are also the same age and are in the midst of their athletic prime at twenty six years old.
Harrison, a Detroit, Michigan native, has a slight edge in amateur experience and success and comes from a boxing family. Both his Father Ali Salaam and Grandfather Henry Hank competed professionally with moderate to good success as a boxer. Harrison was also previously trained by the late, great, Emmanuel Steward.
Both boxers have also been very active in the past two years. Harrison fought two times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Hurd has never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Ionut Dan Ion, Oscar Molina, Frank Galarza, and Jeff Lentz. He has won his past five fights by knockout.
Harrison has defeated the likes of Siarhei Rabchanka, Fernando Guerrero, Antwone Smith, Tyrone Brunson, Bronco McKart, and Grady Brewer. His lone loss was to Willie Nelson.
This is a tough bout to pick, but when Harrison fought someone at the level of Jarret Hurd he came up short. Hurd’s power is at least equal to that of Willie Nelson, and Harrison’s confidence may not be where it’s needed to defeat someone like Jarrett Hurd since his knockout loss.
This writer has to give Jarrett Hurd a slight edge over Tony Harrison.
Deontay Wilder (37-0) vs. Gerald Washington (18-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
Deontay Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk, and received heavy criticism for his choice of opponents, but that bout was cancelled due to Wawrzyk failing a pre-fight drug test.
Gerald Washington was chosen as a replacement opponent despite the fact other well known heavyweights such as Louis Ortiz offered to fight Wilder as a replacement.
Wilder is three years younger than his opponent and will have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage. Wilder also has a much deeper amateur background. Wilder won the bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the United States. Washington has no amateur accomplishments to speak of. However, Washington does have an athletic background as he played tight end and defense end for the University of Southern California and played on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.
Washington started boxing late and made his pro debut at the age of thirty. He has stopped twelve of his opponents. Wilder has stopped thirty six of his opponents and the only man to last all twelve rounds with him was former world title holder Bermane Stiverne. Wilder has stopped four of his past five opponents while Washington has only stopped two of his past five opponents.
Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Washington fought twice in 2016 and in 2015. Wilder fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Wilder clearly has the better professional resume. He has beaten the likes of Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johan Suhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Washington has defeated the likes of Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and had a controversial draw with Amir Mansour.
Washington is a tremendous athlete, but he is not on the level of World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder is fighting in front of his hometown fans and will likely put on another exciting stoppage victory for them to enjoy.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Haye, Shumenov, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Haye, Shumenov, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 17th to May 24th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Oscar De La Hoya and Canelo Alvarez Issue Statement After Vacating WBC Title
Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez today issued the following statement:
“After much consideration, today, I instructed my team at Golden Boy Promotions to continue negotiating a fight with Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and to finalize a deal as quickly as possible. I also informed the WBC that I will vacate its title. For the entirety of my career, I have taken the fights that no one wanted because I fear no man. Never has that been more true than today. I will fight ‘GGG,’ and I will beat ‘GGG’ but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines. I am hopeful that by putting aside this ticking clock, the two teams can now negotiate this fight, and ‘GGG’ and I can get in the ring as soon as possible and give the fans the fight they want to see.”
Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya today issued the following statement:
“There is no denying that Canelo is the biggest star in the sport of boxing. He is eager to get in the ring with ‘GGG’ to show the world that he is also the best pound for pound fighter in the sport, but we won’t negotiate under a forced deadline. Now that the WBC title is off the table, I am hopeful that ‘GGG’ and his promoter K2 Promotions will come to the table in good faith and get this deal done.”
Fox Sports Reports Mayweather vs. McGregor to Happen in September
Fox Sports host Colin Cowherd recently reported that the alleged fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor will happen in September of this year. Cowherd reported this on his podcast.
He stated, “My intel is, Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather is going to happen. It changed late last week. Got a call, then somebody sent me something yesterday and Saturday. We book rooms in Vegas. This happens in September.”
Pacquiao Has Until May 27th to Decide to Fight in Olympics
Manny Pacquiao has previously stated that he has some interest in competing in the Olympics. He was recently elected to the Philippine Senate, so it appears that he won’t be competing in the Olympics.
However, Ed Piscon, the executive director of the Association of Boxing of Alliances of the Philippines has given him until May 27th to make his decision.
He stated, “I asked him to make a decision before May 27 because that’s actually the deadline for the submission of entries for the qualifying event,” said Piscon, “because I don’t know if he can still get a Tripartite pass because that gets decided on not just by AIBA but also the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees).” He went on further to state, “I don’t know if they’ve already met, those 3 groups. So if he doesn’t get a Tripartite pass, then that means he would have to qualify in the qualification event on June 16.”
Shumenov Stops Wright in 10th Round of WBA Cruiserweight World Title Fight
World Boxing Association (WBA) “regular” cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 10 KOs) stopped No. 11-rated Junior “Hurricane” Wright (15-2-1, 12 KOs) in the 10th round tonight at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Shumenov, a former WBA light heavyweight world champion, is first two-division world champion from a Soviet-bloc country. The native of Kazakhstan, fighting out of Las Vegas, also earned the right to challenge unified WBA Super/ International Boxing Federation (IBF) cruiserweight world champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs) within 120 days, as mandated by the WBA.
Hernandez Shocks Magomedov
Determined Phoenix middleweight Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez shocked heavy favorite Arif “The Pedator” Magomedov in the main event on the “Knockout Night at the D” card, which aired live on CBS Sports Network from under the neon lights at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC) outdoor venue.
The “Knockout Night at the D” series, presented by the D Las Vegasand DLVEC, is promoted by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions. The event was promoted in association with Main Events and Shamo Boxing Promotions.
Before a sold-out crowd, Hernandez (12-4-1, 4 KOs) pounded world-rated middleweight Magomedov (17-1, 10 KOs), winning a unanimous 10-round decision (100-89 twice, 98-91) for the vacant USNBC middleweight title. Hernandez hurt Magomedov in the third and seventh rounds, finally dropping the tough Russian (WBA #2, WB) #3, WBA #5 and IBF #14) in the 10th.
“This fight changes everything for me,” Hernandez proclaimed. “He’s very good and deserves all of the accolades he’s received but I now have my head on straight and I’m focused. My jab was very important tonight. He’s very strong but I wanted to fight him inside because I knew he couldn’t take it from me. I was very prepared. I think I may have broken my ankle in the fourth round but I kept going. I wanted to finish him, get the knockout, but he’s a very tough fighter. He has heart and showed why he has all of those accolades.”
Artur Beterbiev Returns June 4th
Unbeaten light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) will battle veteran Argentine Olympian Ezequiel Maderna (23-2, 15 KOs) in a 12-round showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes Saturday, June 4 from Bell Center in Montreal.
Televised coverage begins at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT and features an exciting co-main event that sees a pair of undefeated rising contenders enter the ring as Florida’s Bryant Perrella (13-0, 12 KOs) squares-off against Washington, D.C.’s David Grayton (14-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout. PBC on ESPN returns for the first of seven fight nights between June 4 and August 12 that will feature exciting and competitive battles.
“I have never been out of the ring for a whole year as an amateur or professional so I can’t wait to fight,” said Beterbiev. “We’ve watched some tapes of Maderna and he seems like a complete fighter. We will be ready on June 4.”
“I’m working very hard in preparation of this fight,” said Maderna. “My goal is to fight a perfect fight that will be very important to my professional future.”
“I’m excited for an opportunity to take on a young undefeated lion who’s looking to become a world champion like myself,” said Perrella. “We’re grinding away every day at training camp. We have some new things we’re working on because we know he’s going to come at me hard. I’m ready to either box or brawl. Either way, I’m coming out on top.”
“I’m ready to get in the ring and put on a great performance,” said Grayton. “Training is going well and I’ve had lots of good sparring and conditioning. We know we have a rangy southpaw who’s going to be tough. It’s about whoever wants it the most and I bet I’ll be hungrier. When I get the win, the sky is the limit.”
Mario Heredia Looking to Score Big Upset Over Fedosov
Mexico’s Mario Heredia was denied a chance to prove that he is a top heavyweight contender when an injury forced him to withdraw from the 2015 Boxcino Heavyweight tournament.
Heredia (11-1, 9 KOs, 1-2, 1 KO in WSB), of Merida, Mexico, will now get that opportunity when he takes on the Boxcino champion, Andrey Fedosov (28-3, 23 KO’s) live on SHO EXTREME® (7 p.m. ET/PT) from The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The fight precedes a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader headlined by a 12-round junior welterweight showdown between Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina Jr.
Heredia has been training hard in Mexico, and is now looking at this fight as his time to shine against the well regarded Fedosov.
“This is one of the biggest chances of my life,” said Heredia. “This is the time to show the world what I am made of.
“I was born ready to do this. You will see the rise of a great Mexican Heavyweight on June 11.”
Said manager, Sergio Zaragoza, “Not only will Mario win impressively, but I predict a knockout and it will be a Mexican style finish.”
David Haye Takes a Jab at Meat Industry in New PETA UK Ad
Heavyweight boxing champion David Haye has proved that he’s as kind as he is strong by starring in a new PETA U.K. campaign promoting the knockout power of vegan meals. In the ad (available here), he appears with his fists up in a boxing stance next to the words “I’m David Haye, and I Eat Vegan.”
In an exclusive video interview with PETA U.K.—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—Haye speaks passionately about his performance in the ring since ditching meat: “I’ve put on good lean muscle, feel strong, healthy, no injuries.” He explains how he made the decision to eat vegan after watching the documentary Earthlings, which “kind of hit home about … the unnecessary amounts of killing of animals.”
And The Hayemaker discovered some unexpected bonuses the moment he cut meat, eggs, and dairy foods from his diet: “I felt healthier, I felt cleaner, lighter. … I woke up brighter in the mornings, fresher.” He recalls how before going vegan, he would want to “crash out and go to sleep” after a meal, but now when he eats, he feels “more awake and perked up.”
Going vegan is a great way to improve your health, as vegans are less prone to suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and obesity than meat-eaters are. And each person who goes vegan prevents more than 100 animals every year from being killed on factory farms, in slaughterhouses, and on the decks of fishing boats.
Haye joins a growing list of athletes—including British boxer Nathan Cleverly, welterweight champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley, professional wrestler Austin Aries, and mixed martial artist Jake Shields—who have teamed up with PETA or PETA U.K. to promote kindness to animals.