Spence-Garcia Highlights PBC Rollout
By: Sean Crose
Premiere Boxing Champions announced a major lineup of fights on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California. The highlight of the afternoon? The announcement of an Errol Spence – Mikey Garcia IBF welterweight title bout, which will go down on March 16th at AT&T Stadium in Texas. Garcia, 39-0, will be making a notable jump in weight divisions to face the 24-0 Spence, and will most likely step into the ring a prohibitive underdog, even though both fighters are known as world class talents.
Other notable PBC fights will appear on Fox, which recently made a deal with PBC. On January 26th, Keith Thurman, 28-0, will be making his long awaited return when he faces Josesito Lopez, 36-7, in a bout which will be aired live from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Leo Santa Cruz will be defending his WBA featherweight tile when the 35-1-1 Californian faces the 23- 2 Miguel Flores in another live Fox broadcast, this one from Los Angeles on February 16th. Another major bout will feature WBC welterweight champ Shawn Porter, 29-2-1, as he battles the formidable Yordenis Ugas, 23-3, live in front of Fox cameras in Las Vegas on March 9th.
According to PBC, Fox will air “eight televised world title fights in the first three months of the new deal, featuring eight world champions and more than two dozen of the world’s best boxers going toe-to-toe. The schedule includes five world-class boxing fight nights live on FOX and FOX Deportes, four more on FS1 and FOX Deportes, and the first FOX PBC Pay-Per-View in March.”
PBC also “announced the on-air personalities who will call all the thrilling action.” Needless to say, some of the names are well known and quite respected. “Former heavyweight world Champion Lennox Lewis and former lightweight world champion Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini join FOX Sports as boxing analysts,” PBC stated, “while Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Chris Myers and Emmy Award-nominee Kenny Albert serve as blow-by-blow announcers. Seasoned FOX broadcaster Kate Abdo joins as a studio and fight night host. Plus, Boxing Hall of Famer Larry Hazzard works as a Rules Expert/Unofficial Scorer.”
Fox Deportes can now boast of having “International Boxing Hall of Fame member and former four-division world champion Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales,” on the team, “working with Jaime Motta and Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award winner Jessi Losada.” PBCs fight schedule will begin on December 22nd, when the Charlo brothers showcase their skills in Brooklyn, against Willie Monroe Jr, and Tony Harrison respectively, and will end on April 20th, when Danny Garcia, 34-2, makes his comeback fight against Adrian Grenados, 20-6-2, at a location to be announced.
Fox Sports and Premier Boxing Champions Announce Eight Title Fights Over First Three Months, Spence Jr. vs Garcia, March 16th
FOX Sports and Premier Boxing Champions today announced eight televised world title fights in the first three months of the new deal, featuring eight world champions and more than two dozen of the world’s best boxers going toe-to-toe. The schedule includes five world-class boxing fight nights live on FOX and FOX Deportes, four more on FS1 and FOX Deportes, and the first FOX PBC Pay-Per-View in March.
“We’re thrilled to have Premier Boxing Champions’ brightest stars coming to FOX Sports reaching the biggest audiences on broadcast television,” says Mark Silverman, FOX Sports President, National Networks. “The 2019 PBC schedule kicks off with high-stakes action and excitement, making FOX the premier home for boxing and the continued leader in live sporting events.”
Schedule highlights include world champion twins Jermall and Jermell Charlo defending their titles in separate fights live in primetime on FOX on December 22; followed by welterweight champion Keith Thurman’s ring return on FOX January 26; featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz headlining on FOX February 23; 147-pound Champ Shawn Porter defending his world title March 9 on FOX; and the blockbuster showdown between welterweight Champ Errol Spence Jr. and four-division world champion Mikey Garcia, on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View March 16, live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
FOX Sports and FOX Deportes also announced the on-air personalities who will call all the thrilling action. Former heavyweight world Champion Lennox Lewis and former lightweight world champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini join FOX Sports as boxing analysts, while Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Chris Myers and Emmy Award-nominee Kenny Albert serve as blow-by-blow announcers. Seasoned FOX broadcaster Kate Abdo joins as a studio and fight night host. Plus, Boxing Hall of Famer Larry Hazzard works as a Rules Expert/Unofficial Scorer.
FOX Deportes taps International Boxing Hall of Fame member and former four-division world champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales, working with Jaime Motta and Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award winner Jessi Losada.
More on the FOX Sports PBC Schedule:
Jermall Charlo vs. Willie Monroe, Jr. and Jermell Charlo vs. Tony Harrison, Saturday, December 22, 2018, 8:00 PM ET on FOX. Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Twin titans kick off the new season of PBC on FOX, as Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) defends his WBC interim middleweight title against top-rated contender Willie Monroe, Jr. (23-3, 6 KOs), while Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) makes the fourth defense of his WBC Super Welterweight Championship against hard hitting former title challenger Tony Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs). Rounding out the evening, WBC mandatory challenger and 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) battles Carlos Negron (20-1, 16 KOs), a member of the Puerto Rican boxing team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Jose Uzcategui vs. Caleb Plant, Sunday, January 13, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FS1. Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles
IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jose Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) battles undefeated, top-rated challenger Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs).
Keith Thurman vs. Josesito Lopez, Saturday, January 26, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FOX. Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) ends a long injury layoff to defend his title and starts to reclaim the division against battle-hardened veteran Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs). Also that evening, Adam Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs), one of the fastest rising stars in the heavyweight division, takes on his toughest challenge to date when he steps in against U.S. Navy veteran and USC football standout Gerald Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs).
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Miguel Flores, Saturday, February 16, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FOX. Los Angeles
WBA Featherweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs), one of the highest volume punchers in the sport, defends his title against the always tough Miguel Flores (23-2, 11 KOs). Plus, former WBC Lightweight Champion Omar Figueroa Jr. (27-0-1, 19 KOs) returns after a long injury layoff to face former title challenger John Molina Jr. (30-7, 24 KOs).
Anthony Dirrell vs. Avni Yildirim, Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:00 PM ET on FS1. The Armory, Minneapolis
Former WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) battles once-beaten Avni Yildirim (21-1), who faces the stiffest competition of his career, in a clash for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight Championship.
Shawn Porter vs. Yordenis Ugas, Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FOX. Las Vegas
WBC Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) makes his first title defense against top-rated mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs), who gets his first world title shot.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia, Saturday, March 16, 2019, 9:00 PM ET on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View. AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
In one of the most highly anticipated and intriguing matches in boxing, IBF Welterweight Champion Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) will defend his title against four-division world champion and current WBC Lightweight Champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who is moving up two weight classes to challenge Spence.
Lamont Peterson vs. Sergey Lipinets, Sunday, March 24, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FS1. MGM National Harbor, Oxon Hill, MD
Former junior welterweight and welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) clashes with former junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs).
Caleb Truax vs. Peter Quillin, Saturday, April 13, 2019, 10:00 PM ET on FS1. The Armory, Minneapolis
Former super middleweight champion Caleb Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs) meets former middleweight champion Peter Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) in a battle to determine who climbs back into title contention.
Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados, Saturday, April 20, 2019, 8:00 PM ET on FOX.
Former junior welterweight and welterweight champion Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) wants to rebound from a razor-thin loss in his last bout to take on battle-tested Adrian Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs).
FOX Sports PBC Additional Dates:
(Fights confirmed on a later date.)
Saturday, May 11, 2019, FOX
Saturday, May 25, 2019, FS1
Saturday, June 1, 2019, FS1
Sunday, June 23, 2019, FOX
Saturday, July 13, 2019, FS1
Saturday, July 20, 2019, FOX
Saturday, August 3, 2019, FOX
Saturday, August 24, 2019, FS1
Sunday, September 1, 2019, FOX
Saturday, September 21, 2019, FS1
Saturday, November 9, 2019, FS1
Saturday, December 14, 2019 on FOX
Saturday, December 21, 2019 on FS1
With the recently announced 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 more than 175 hours of original PBC boxing content per year across its channels.
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, FOX Sports Digital will have a dedicated FOXSports.com and FOX Sports App page for PBC coverage, in addition to dedicated YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
FOX Sports and PBC launched the highly regarded primetime boxing series TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and FOX Deportes in the fall of 2015, featuring PBC’s brightest up-and-coming boxers. The deal was expanded to include several fight nights on the FOX broadcast network, including exciting title fights such as heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder defending his title in February of 2016, July of 2016, and again in February of 2017, plus the exciting welterweight showdown between Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero in January of 2016.
Charlo Brothers To Defend Titles in 12/22 PBC on Fox Doubleheader
By Jake Donovan
The biggest complaint among the cult following for twin brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo is that they’ve yet to headline a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) telecast in primetime.
While that problem will be resolved for at least one of the two in their next ring appearance, the next batch of complaints will come in their respective opponents.
Photo Credit: Jermell Charlo Twitter Account
The unbeaten twins will defend their separate alphabet titles on a December 22 edition of PBC on Fox, live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Jermall Charlo will make the first defense of his interim middleweight strap as he faces Willie Monroe Jr. Meanwhile, Jermell Charlo attempts the fourth defense of his 154-pound belt versus Tony Harrison.
A coin toss will determine which Charlo gets to headline the primetime doubleheader, which will kick off the rebranded model of PBC’s renewed three-year deal with Fox.
The show had promised to make a big splash given the renewed deal, but—beyond the prospect of seeing both Charlos on the same card (and one in the main event)—neither bout really moves the needle.
Even though he only holds an interim version of the World Boxing Council (WBC) title, Jermall (27-0, 21KOs) remains in a favorable position given all of the recent movement in the middleweight division. The 28-year old from Houston, Texas moved up from super welterweight (154 lbs.), where he’d held a title for nearly two years prior to vacating ahead of his July ’17 stoppage win over a hobbled Jorge Heiland.
The win—which took place at Barclays Center, where he will now make his third straight appearance—was supposed to guarantee Charlo a crack at the winner between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their Sept. ’17 clash. However, the bout ended in a controversial draw, leading to what was supposed to be an immediate rematch.
Charlo wound up fighting for and winning an interim title in a stoppage victory over Hugo Centeno this past April. By that point, the Alvarez-Golovkin rematch had already been postponed until September, with Alvarez taking a decision win. At its annual convention in early October, the WBC granted Alvarez an optional fight while ordering Charlo-Golovkin in a bout to determine the next mandatory challenger to the full title.
Obviously that fight won’t materialize next, if ever at all.
Golovkin—beltless for the first time since 2010—is currently fielding offers both in the ring and the platform which will broadcast his next fight. It’s obvious a December showdown with Charlo was a non-starter on his end, leaving PBC brass to keep its client busy.
A title defense versus Monroe Jr. provides that very opportunity, though is a bit of a letdown given how much attention has been afforded the division just in recent weeks.
Monroe Jr. (28-3, 6KOs) figured to surface in a significant event under PBC, which has housed his last two bouts. The veteran contender from upstate New York—who will turn 32 just ahead of fight night—is coming off of a 10-round decision over Javier Maciel in August, his second straight win following a 12-round loss to then-unbeaten titlist Billy Joe Saunders last September.
The bout—which was painfully tough to watch—marked his second failed attempt at a middleweight crown. He parlayed his ESPN2 Boxcino Middleweight Tournament crowning into a lucrative May ’15 crack at Gennady Golovkin, suffering three knockdowns en route to a 6th round stoppage defeat live on HBO.
Surrounding the title fights are respectable wins over Brandon Adams (in the aforementioned Boxcino finals), Brian Vera and Gabriel Rosado.
Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15KOs) has emerged as a cult favorite over the course of his title run. The 28-year old had to rally from way behind in stopping John Jackson to win his portion of the 154-pound crown in May ’16, the win going in the history books as he and Jermall became the first twins in boxing history to simultaneously hold major titles in the same weight division.
Whereas Jermall has moved up the scale, Jermell has punched his way to the top of the division. Highlight-reel knockout wins over Charles Hatley and previously unbeaten Erickson Lubin both made their way to several 2017 year-end awards lists, the latter marking his 5th consecutive stoppage win.
A close-but-clear points win over former titlist Austin Trout this past June ended that streak, but put Jermell alongside Jarret Hurd—whom outpointed Erislandy Lara in their unification bout on that same card—as the best 154-pound boxers in the world.
PBC brass along with the fine folks at Showtime—the industry-leading premium cable outlet who has invested heavily in the 154-pound division—have not at all been shy about the prospect of Charlo and Hurd colliding in a bout to determine the super welterweight king. However, both sides have steadily acknowledged that such a fight wasn’t likely until 2019 as Hurd is rebounding from rotator cuff surgery.
Much like his twin, Jermell was forced to realize that seeking bigger game would have to give way—for now—to remaining active.
Enter Harrison (27-2, 21KOs), once high among the most lauded prospects under the PBC umbrella. The Detroit-bred middleweight has since fallen to middle-of-the-pack contender, suffering knockout losses to Willie Nelson and Hurd on the undercard of high-profile events.
The defeat to Nelson—in which he was winning every round before falling apart late—came in the chief support to PBC’s first primetime card on ESPN in July ’15. A modest three-fight win streak followed, leading to his first career title fight.
A Feb. ’17 clash with Hurd aired live on Fox in primetime, as the co-feature to Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title-defending stoppage win over Gerald Washington. Harrison was competitive until he wasn’t, with Hurd coming on strong late in scoring a 9th round stoppage to claim the vacant title.
Harrison has rebounded with a pair of wins including narrowly outpointing Ishe Smith this past May on Bounce TV. His forthcoming showdown with Charlo will mark his second crack at a major title.
Meanwhile, one of the Charlos will get the honor of headlining their first PBC primetime event. Both have topped the bill in lesser advertised cards, Jermell on a Halloween ’15 edition of PBC on NBC Sports and Jermall in his first defense of his 154-pound title on a Nov. ’15 afternoon installment of PBC on NBC.
They’ve since fought a combined eight times, all of which have aired live on Showtime-televised undercards. Included among the lot was the last time they appeared on the same show—in May ’16, a card that was topped by Lara’s 12-round win over Vanes Martirosyan.
Now, their only competition for top billing on the marquee is each other. Sadly, the forthcoming coin-toss to determine such status is perhaps more enticing to boxing fans than either matchup on the announced show.
Senator Manny Pacquiao Joins Forces with Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions as He Prepares for Ring Return
Senator MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, announced today that he has entered into an exclusive agreement to work with manager / advisor Al Haymon.The new alliance will have team Pacquiao and Haymon work together to navigate the remainder of his illustrious career. Pacquiao’s first defense of the World Boxing Association welterweight world title will kick off the new partnership and will have Pacquiao appear on the Premier Boxing Champions series. Pacquiao’s promotion company, MP Promotions, will promote all of his upcoming bouts under this new alignment with Haymon.
Photo Credit: Manny Pacquiao Twitter Account
MP Promotions will also work with Al Haymon to bring some of the best fighters from the Philippines and Asia to the United States to appear on the PBC series.
“I’m very excited about this new chapter in my career and I’m looking forward to a fresh start. I’m reinvigorated by the prospects of bringing up new fighters under the MP Promotions banner,” said Pacquiao. “My team will work closely with Al Haymon for the remainder of my career to deliver the most anticipated fights with the top PBC fighters. Those are the fights the fans want to see and the ones I want to have to close out my career.”
“MP Promotions is very excited about this last phase of Senator Manny’s Hall of Fame Career. We look forward to launching this new relationship with Manny’s first world title defense,” said Joe Ramos, who heads MP Promotions. “I would also like to acknowledge matchmaker Sean Gibbons, legal counsel Tom Falgui, and Senator Manny’s aide Steve Jumalon for their tireless efforts and invaluable advice.”
Pacquiao, a three-time Fighter of the Year and Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, will return to the ring early next year. The fight, which will be announced soon, will be co-promoted by MP Promotions and TGB Promotions.
With Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duerte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad in attendance (the first time two heads of state attended a championship boxing event), Pacquaio regained the welterweight title for a fourth time on July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia by knocking out defending WBA champion Lucas Matthyssee in the seventh round.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who hails from Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is the only sitting Congressman and Senator to win a world title. After serving two terms as congressman, Pacquiao was elected to a Philippine Senate seat in May 2016, capturing over 16 million votes nationally. Pacquiao’s boxing resume features victories over current and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao-Broner Likely For January 19 in Las Vegas; Fox, Showtime In Play
By Jake Donovan
While the bout itself has yet to be formally announced, it’s entirely possible that by as early as Tuesday the heavily rumored showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner could very well have a fight date, location and televised platform.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission will meet on Tuesday, October 23 for its monthly agenda hearing, which covers reviews of past events and approvals for requested future business conducted in the state. Among the budget items is a list of three requested fight dates for TGB Promotions, with plans to stage events on January 19, February 16 and March 9 all at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Photo Credit: Manny Pacquiao Twitter Account
A Pacquiao-Broner showdown has been targeted for January 19, according to several sources who’ve declined to speak any further on the matter—even off the record—and with Las Vegas as the most likely location.
All three dates are currently slated for the rebranded version of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox, a development first reported by RingTV.com senior writer Mike Coppinger. PBC renewed long-term deals with Fox and Showtime, both of whom remain very interested in airing this event although BoxingInsider.com has learned through three credible sources that no decision has yet been made and likely won’t until the fight is formally announced.
The first Fox prime telecast under the renewed PBC on Fox series is currently slated for December 22, with plans to run shows once per month. There also exists the possibility of one or more of those dates moving to a Fox-distributed Pay-Per-View event, according to details revealed in the initial announcement this past September.
Speculation has already begun about Pacquiao-Broner likely going that route, as the price tag that would come with such a fight would figure to heavily eat into the allotted annual budget provided by either Fox or Showtime.
Talks of the matchup surfaced almost immediately after it was revealed that Pacquiao—the only eight-division titlist in boxing history and currently a secondary beltholder at welterweight—inked a deal with adviser Al Haymon, who founded PBC in 2015.
The move came as a surprise only from a historical perspective. Pacquiao managed to miss out on several key fights at welterweight due to his fighting for years under the Top Rank promotional banner, whose founder Bob Arum has been embroiled in a years-long feud with Haymon. The heart of that standoff stems from Haymon’s relationship with Floyd Mayweather, who left Top Rank for good in 2006 and has since emerged as the biggest box office attraction in boxing history.
Arum and Haymon were literally locked in a room and forced to do business together at the demand of Les Moonves, then head of CBS Corporation (parent company of Showtime) to make Mayweather-Pacquiao a reality in 2015 after more than five years of their careers managing to run parallel.
The bout itself was a stinker—with Mayweather winning a wide but dull unanimous decision—as was the half-assed promotion offered by Mayweather Promotions which demanded lead status. Still, the most anticipated boxing event of the 21st Century secured box office benchmarks which will likely never be surpassed, including more than $72 million at the live gate and more than $400 million in U.S. PPV revenue.
At the time, it was believed to be a one-and-done event, with the 12 rounds of non-action and the nauseating building not providing any reason to do it all again. However, the two were recently at the same event in Japan this past September and took to social media together in teasing the possibility off a rematch in 2019.
The postings came on the morning of the rematch between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Genandy Golovkin, leading many to believe it was just another tactic employed by Mayweather to upstage any event involving Golden Boy Promotions. He did as much in announcing his one-fight return to the sport in 2017, staging his August ’17 bout with UFC superstar and boxing debutante Conor McGregor in Las Vegas just three weeks prior to Alvarez-Golovkin I and drawing four times as many PPV buys.
Few paid this recent round of trolling any mind, until it was revealed that Pacquiao—no longer under contract with Top Rank—had joined forces with Haymon and the PBC family.
There still doesn’t exist any real possibility of Mayweather-Pacquiao II, with Mayweather having not fought since the aforementioned highly lucrative McGregor sideshow and more interested in boxing vs. UFC pairings (rematch with McGregor, or a first fight with his most recent conqueror and UFC pound-for-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov). By his own admission, a Pacquiao rematch requires more public massaging.
In that vain came the idea to pair Pacquiao with Broner, a former four-division titlist who has long ago maxed out his boxing celebrity credit card and could stand a notable win or two in the twilight of a frustrating career.
Broner has not fought since a 12-round draw with Jessie Vargas this past April. The 29-year old from Cincinnati has not won a fight since a narrow victory over Adrian Granados in his hometown last February.
Pacquiao is 3-1 in his life after Mayweather, managing to win some version of a welterweight title in each victory. He entered as the challenger in a pair of 2016 unanimous decisions in Las Vegas over Tim Bradley (in their third fight) and Vargas bookending his successful turn at securing one of 12 open Senate seats in his native Philippines during the general election, following a two-term tour as a Congressman in the Sarangani province.
His title reign following the Vargas win lasted just under eight months, ending in highly controversial fashion in losing an unpopular split decision to Jeff Horn last August in his opponent’s native Australia homeland. Efforts to secure a rematch proved exhausting, also signaling the end of a nearly two-decade long stint with Top Rank.
Their last bit of business together came in July, when the Las Vegas-based company secured the U.S. TV distribution rights for his stoppage win over Lucas Matthysse. The bout took place in Malaysia, with Top Rank managing to distribute via ESPN+ through its ESPN deal. A subsequent dispute came when Pacquiao claimed to have not been properly paid the rights fee by Top Rank, with the two sides settling before moving about their separate ways.
Now under the PBC banner, Pacquiao’s debut on the other side of the street is not without its snags. The Filipino southpaw has yet to resolve a multi-million dollar tax debt with the U.S. IRS, the principle cause for his having not fought stateside since the Vargas bout.
That financial matter will need to be resolved before Pacquiao can ever again fight in the U.S. However, it won’t have any bearing on whether the Nevada commission approves TGB Promotions’ fight date requests, since none come with solidified main events including the planned January 19 show in Las Vegas.
Still, Pacquiao didn’t head to PBC just to sit on the sidelines or for the outfit—which has yet to stage a branded event outside of the U.S.—to take its act overseas on his behalf. Chances are, his tax status will soon be resolved—whether fully settled or through a long-term installment agreement—as will full details of his forthcoming showdown with Broner.
Crawford Won’t Get Spence Until……
By Rich Mancuso
The boxing fan deserve this fight as do Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.. This is asking the improbable with these obstacles of duel promotions and televised streaming rights. However a fight of this magnitude to unify portions of the welterweight titles and determine the pound-for-pound best is bound to happen.
Because it’s boxing, and the promotional fight has picked up a bit, they have to come to an agreement. Or do they?
But for this to happen there also needs to be unity with the respective promoters and of course the personnel who would be involved with networks and rights to televise this potential mega fight.
Photo Credit: Terence Crawford Twitter Account
And with boxing, a fight like this can be done. Then again it becomes a waiting game of back-and-forth and someone giving in with a late punch in the final round. With Top Rank and the PBC, obviously the main principals to deliver this also falls into the lines of boxing politics.
Boxing politics has never stopped Bob Arum and Top Rank from delivering. When the back-and-forth of politics concludes the fight is delivered. It has to be done and will be because Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is as huge as Mayweather and Pacquiao was.
Perhaps this is bigger in magnitude because they are two champions, one with Top Rank and the other with the PBC, champions in the welterweight division. This elite division of welterweights that also generates the revenue and interest for boxing is shown in the ratings.
An this past Saturday, Terence Crawford, who could be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business and Jose Benavidez Jr. established the highest rating boxing telecast on Broadcast and Cable television this year.
So now, it is time to deliver a fight that boxing needs. A fight that the boxing fan will demand. Delivering this fight, according to sources, and that back-and forth talk has commenced.
Moments after Crawford disposed Jose Benavidez Jr. in the final round Saturday night, his first defense of the WBO Welterweight title, Bob Arum was asked the questions. The fight boxing needs will have to wait but how long will it be?
Arum does have the leverage here because Crawford delivers the numbers for ESPN and the Hall of Fame promoter has the platform. Spence Jr. also has the numbers with Showtime and the PBC has that history of also delivering the numbers for the network seen in previous fights Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter opposing Danny Garcia for the Welterweight title.
In line with all of this, Tuesday Bob Arum made his pitch. Showtime, he said will soon be out of boxing just like HBO.
“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” he said. This was possibly the beginning of a bargaining point of view because Showtime is committed to continue their involvement with boxing, and the PBC continues to thrive with all the rumors to the contrary.
Arum is known to make some outrageous statements. This one, and only because he said Showtime is throwing more money into programming, does offer a line of truth. For the past few years it was HBO that lost the roster of fighters that put the network on top. But putting more of their budget into popular programs did boxing in for the network.
This is the Haves and Have Not of boxing. However, with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. in the picture, it is about having the best fight for the boxing fan. Showtime and the PBC are moving along and so is Bob Arum and his deal with ESPN.
Just a matter of time and the fight will happen. Arum, in the meantime will go back-and-forth but is looking at other opponents for his champion. Similar to Mayweather and Pacquiao and how long it took, at some point next year this fight will be a reality.
And because this is boxing, it only works this way.
Terence Crawford Answers Critics and Delivers Message with Thrilling Win
By Jake Donovan
On a Saturday where college football saw seven Top 25 teams all suffer shocking upsets—including four in the Top 10—boxing needed to do a lot better than simply go chalk.
As an unbeaten prizefighter whose home base is deep in football country, Terence Crawford had to understand that better than anyone else. It took more than 11 rounds for Nebraska’s one man pro sports franchise to deliver, but in the end Crawford gave the hometown fans in Omaha plenty to cheer about and sports outlets something better to write about than a routine title defense.
An explosive stoppage finish of Jose Benavidez Jr. with 18 seconds to go in their ESPN-televised headliner sent the sold-out crowd at CHI Health Center Omaha into a frenzy, a reaction par for the course whenever Crawford fights at home.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
That it nearly went the full 12-round distance would not have been a good look for the sport’s reigning pound-for-pound king, or for boxing in general.
It was already a rough day in the industry, with the second week of World Boxing Super Series Season Two offering a pair of unwatchable quarterfinal matchups from Russia and with ESPN’s headlining act coming with Crawford as a 33-1 favorite by the opening bell.
Rising featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson did his part to break from the norm, exploding in a 1st round knockout over a normally durable Viorel Simion, who’d never previously been dropped. It set the stage for Crawford, and for much of the night proved to be a tough act to follow.
Crawford was never in any real danger of losing, although Benavidez Jr.—who’d traded harsh words with the unbeaten champ all week and nearly blows at Friday’s weigh-in—made things far too interesting through the first six rounds. In fact, the unbeaten challenger from Phoenix was ahead one card after five rounds and just one point down on another.
Much of the pre-fight talk around the industry focused less on this matchup and more on when Crawford would start facing welterweights “on the other side of the street” like Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia. To put it mildly, Crawford was expected to blow through Benavidez Jr.—who returned to the sport earlier this year after suffering a gun shot and came in to the bout with his right knee in a supporting brace—and send a message to the wolves starting to circle the corral.
The unbeaten switch-hitter finally began to pull away in the second half of the night, although still failing to manage any better than a solid boxing performance. It’s not enough when you are hailed as the best boxer in the world and defending against a perceived overmatched opponent.
Crawford sensed it as the bout wore on, perhaps never more than when his mother Debra shouted from ringside at the start of round 10 that he needed to end the fight. That moment wouldn’t come for another two rounds, and it even took for the 31-year old to ignore the theme of his corner’s instructions during the one-minute rest period, where he was told to play it safe and leave with the win—but to take his shot if he saw an opening.
The manner in which he fought the rounds suggested that Crawford wasn’t interested in waiting for an opening; he instead punched a hole through the wall.
After missing twice earlier in the round with right uppercuts, it was that very punch which functionally put an end to Benavidez’s brave stand. It produced the lone knockdown of the night, coming with less than a minute to go in the fight, but just enough time for Crawford to register his fight straight stoppage victory.
A flurry along the ropes left the normally elusive Benavidez Jr. out on his feet, leaving referee Celestine Ruiz no choice but to end the fight with 0:18 left on the clock.
Had Benavidez Jr. managed to bob and weave just long enough to hear the final bell, Crawford would’ve cruised to a landslide decision victory. He was up 107-102, 108-101 and an unacceptable 110-99 at the time of the stoppage, but on a night where—by his own admission—he had a hard time early on solving his opponent’s deceptively slick style.
Mind you, it’s not as if decision wins are commonplace for Crawford, who has now scored five straight stoppages and with nine of his 12 career title fights ending inside the distance. But going the full 12 rounds against a largely immobile opponent who’d never lived up to his full career promise wasn’t going to be good enough on this night.
It wasn’t going to be good enough for industry fans who continue to grow frustrated over the politics of the sport depriving the talent-rich welterweight division of the best fights.
It wasn’t going to be good enough in the eyes of the top PBC welterweights who—between lucrative network deals on Showtime and Fox prime—can continue to face each other, and now with former eight-division champ Manny Pacquiao sweetening the pot.
It certainly wasn’t going to be enough to sports fans in a crazed college football town are in dire need of a new hero, as the still winless Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-6) are off to their worst start in their 129-year history.
With that final offensive explosion, Crawford didn’t just do his job but showed off his ability to deviate from the norm. Serving as the hero to so many of those around him means everything, a feeling you can sense whenever he speaks to the outpouring of support he receives at home and every time he climbs the turnbuckle at fight’s end.
On a night when there was so much else to talk about in the sports world—the slew of college Football Top 25 upsets, Major League Baseball playoffs—Terence Crawford found a way in the end to once again keep boxing at the heart of discussion.
Manny Pacquiao to the PBC
By Jake Donovan
Less than a month after teasing the possibility of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao has made the first significant move toward clearing any hurdles.
Heavy rumors have swirled about the former eight-division titlist joining forces with Mayweather’s longtime adviser, Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions outfit. Manila Bulletin’s Nick Giongco was the first to break the story on Wednesday, which has since gained considerable momentum despite a single source willing to go on record to verify.
It been suggested that Pacquiao’s first fight under the PBC umbrella can come as early as next January.
Several PBC representatives have declined comment to BoxingInsider.com on the subject, although also didn’t dismiss such rumors.
The development would be the latest in a series of significant boxing power moves within the past few months. As far as stateside boxing content goes, there are three major entities currently controlling the landscape: Haymon’s PBC series, which recently renewed lucrative, long-term pacts with Showtime and Fox/FS1; Eddie Hearn through subscription-based DAZN USA streaming service; and Pacquiao’s former long-time promoter Bob Arum, whose Top Rank outfit is the primary content provider for ESPN and its ESPN+ streaming app.
Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank expired earlier this year. His last fight officially promoted by Top Rank came last July, when he suffered a shocking and highly controversial split decision defeat to Jeff Horn in Australia. The bout ended his third reign as a welterweight titlist, also snapping a two-fight win streak following his loss to Mayweather.
The final piece of business between the two came in his July knockout win over Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Top Rank didn’t directly promote the event, but offered live coverage on ESPN+ after Pacquiao’s MP Promotions missed numerous deadlines to distribute through Pay-Per-View.
There remained little doubt as to their going separate ways when Pacquiao (or more likely a team member speaking on his behalf) took to social media to demand money owed by Top Rank for U.S. TV rights to the aforementioned event. The issue was quickly resolved, followed by confirmation that Pacquiao would take his career in a different direction.
Later that very week, the legendary southpaw from Philippines joined in with Mayweather in trolling the boxing community in suggesting a rematch to their May ’15 blockbuster event was in the works.
The declaration came on the morning of the September 15 rematch between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, leading many to believe it was simply yet another stunt by Mayweather designed to steal attention from a Golden Boy Promotions event. Mayweather came out of retirement last summer to face UFC superstar and boxing debutant Conor McGregor, staging the event three weeks prior to Alvarez-Golovkin I and drawing more than three times as many PPV buys.
Once Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39KOs) joined in on the fun—posting “No Excuses #50-1”—skepticism quickly switched to curiosity as to whether it was actually going to happen.
Their first fight destroyed all box office numbers within the sport, setting benchmarks that will likely never be surpassed in this lifetime. Even if the rematch doesn’t happen, Pacquiao agreeing to do business with Haymon and PBC opens up a number of future possibilities. Most of the best welterweights in the world—including Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia—all fight under the PBC umbrella.
It also opens the door for Pacquiao to secure U.S. TV dates for his MP Promotions stable, which sources in the Philippines claim as an additional motivating factor.
Though far from substantiated, a potential first fight for Pacquiao could come versus former four-division titlist Adrien Broner. Where such a fight would land depends on the willingness of PBC’s chief two outlets – Showtime and Fox – ponying up the necessary funds to avoid having to go PPV in back-to-back months, with Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury locked in for December 1 on Showtime PPV live from Los Angeles, California.
A far less expensive route could see him instead take a fight with a PBC second-tier welterweight such as Andre Berto, Devon Alexander, Josesito Lopez or John Molina Jr.
Whatever is Pacquiao’s next move, it will come with an entirely new team in place.
The future Hall of Famer—who turns 40 in December—parted ways with trainer Freddie Roach earlier this year, thus ending a 17-year run with the Hollywood-based cornerman. Under Roach’s tutelage, Pacquiao managed to win titles in seven weight classes together (winningthe lineal flyweight champion prior to hooking up with Roach) and enjoyed a mercurial rise to superstardom.
His fight with Matthysse came with longtime assistant Buboy Fernandez as his head trainer, who will presumably serve in that role for as long as Pacquiao continues with his career. Along with Roach and Arum no longer along for the ride, BoxingScene.com has reported that Pacquiao has also cut ties with longtime manager Michael Koncz.
PBC on FS1 Results: Joyce and Figueroa Win
Over in Ontario, California – around 35 miles east of Los Angeles – Victor Ortiz and John Molina were meant to be facing off over the course of a scheduled 12 rounds with both men looking for one final crack at the big time. That was until Ortiz got himself in a spot of bother with the police, having handed himself in on charges of sexual assault – a wholly serious affair – promoter Tom Brown was forced to bump Brandon Figueroa vs Oscar Escandon to main event with The Hearbreaker, Figueroa, looking to move 17 and 0 against the gritty Colombian and former world title challenger.
Flying high as a professional, Brandon Figueroa was seeking to claim the biggest scalp of his career in the form of Oscar Escandon and with a streak of three successive knockouts, he certainly fancied his chances pre-fight of getting the job done within the scheduled 10 rounds.
Figueroa stood firm at the centre of the ring, statuesque for the first thirty seconds before resting on the shoulder of Escandon and working the inside pockets, getting big shots his Colombian opponent along with the occasional swift overhand.
Escandon looked to push the case for himself and extended his jab frequently, looking busy and fresh with his work but landing nothing of particular substance. Figueroa, on the other hand, was landing the more noticeable shots with a cracking straight left landing flush to the face of his opponent.
Fighting in the light blue shorts, Figueroa took a heavy tumble in the second – and a tumble, only – and sought to double up on the jab as he switched stances periodically. A real tussle emerged on the ropes with both men firing across the horizon, Escandon tagged the younger boxer with a god body shot to bring a wry smile from the face of Figueroa.
A real postage stamp fight over the opening third of the fight, both men were mixing it with good shots of their own but it was the younger fighter that, perhaps predictably, was showing the better energy and landed a couple of solid left hooks to keep Escandon in check.
Escandon was seeking to echo the plan of Figueroa in working on the inside and wearing down the body and whilst he was finding moderate success, it was hard to claim he was winning the fight.
Cut above the left eye, it made no difference to the strategy and confidence of Figueroa who snapped in and out of range from his counterpart but remained ever constant with accurate jabs and crisp left hand shots.
Round 5 of a scheduled 10 saw the fight from a little more with Figueroa starting to dictate the pace of the bout to greater effectiveness, good left hooks from the body saw Escandon visibly slow in his movements but he kept firing shots into his opponent – showing plenty of guts.
Figueroa snapped back immediately, hurting his man but chose not to follow up in pursuit of a stoppage and the rhythm continued into the latter half of the fight with both men finding pockets of success throughout each fight but Figueroa controlling much of the bout with his superior work-rate and more vicious punch intention.
Just when the bout looked destined for a routine points victory, Figueroa wound up and landed a flush right uppercut to the chin of his man to send his to the canvas in an instant – Escandon tried to get back up but only collapsed back, a sickening punch and a mesmerising knockout. Job done for Brandon Figueroa.
Joe Joyce, the British protagonist, was making his Stateside debut against Iago Kiladze, the Georgian Grizzly Bear, with the Juggernaut seeking to make an immediate splash over in America.
Up against Kiladze this fight was always going to be a “Joe Joyce showcase” with there being very little genuine hope of Kiladze springing an upset but the former cruiserweight prospect is known for his ability to make situations difficult so it was pertinent that Joyce stuck to the fundamentals that have seen him go to 5 and 0 in the space of a year and claim the Commonwealth title along the way.
The arts graduate from Putney, London, was punching downwards against a smaller opponent but Kiladze scampered across the ring during the early phases, skipping his way along the ropes on his toes and evading the awkward limbs of Joyce.
With eyes set on his Georgian counterpart in a manner akin to a bird of prey, Joyce never looked anything but focussed and mirrored Kiladze’s movement to an inch, Joyce began to target the body and, as he did, Kiladze threw back some adventurous shots of his own.
Into the second round we moved and a huge hook, seemingly from nowhere, sent Kiladze to the canvas with an audible thud. Sensing the stoppage was near, Joyce continued to pepper the body of his more experienced opponent, sinking his hands into the ribcage of Kiladze.
Kiladze, beginning to look worse for wear, seemed now to stagger as opposed to scamper and a left hook followed by a right and another left to the head of Kiladze saw his head bobble around like a ship in a stormy sea – the scarlet red face of Kiladze was a testament to the power that Joyce possesses.
The British heavyweight began to loosen up as the fight progressed and towards the end of a, relatively dull, third round, he exploded into the body of Kiladze – who was on the ropes – twisting the full power of his torso into the shots and dropping the Georgian to the canvas for a second time.
For the third time in the fight Kiladze hit the floor, in the fifth round, with a shot that, actually, was just a tentative, pawing jab from the big Putney man but it was enough, he’d had enough and returned to his corner, to secure Joe Joyce a 6th win and his 6th by knockout.
In the opening heavyweight bout of the evening Efe Ajagba (6-0, 5KOs) took on a fellow unbeaten professional in Nick Jones (7-0, 5KOs) with the 2016 Olympian hoping to get a stiffer contest than his, now infamous, one second bout versus Curtis Harper back in August.
Standing 6foot 5inches tall, Ajagba came into the ring looking like a figure sculpted from clay, impeccably formed and he led with a rangy, reaching left jab before landing some big right hands early on to signal his intentions from the off.
Looking patient from the centre of the ring Ajagba was in clear control even from the immediate offerings and Jones began to soak shots up almost instantaneously, several clubbing rights landing to the temple of Jones with those snapping hands of Ajagba breaking Jones’ guard with an alarming frequency.
With Jones ignoring the warning signs, Ajagba barely even flicked up a gear as he pieced together the punches with ease, throwing a soft left jab to tee up a crunchy nut of a right hook, snapping the neck of his counterpart back to send him crumpling to the canvas. A first round stoppage for Efe Ajagba within two minutes of the bell – the 24 year old moves to 7 and 0 with five of those victories now coming in the opening round.
Earlier on in the evening Jesse Rodriguez advanced his unbeaten record to seven without defeat when he issued Ediwn Reyes with an eight round shellacking, the scorecards were 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73, whilst Stephen Fulton dazzled over the course of eight rounds against, 102 fight veteran, German Meraz with some hard-hitting body shots and impressive hand speed – the scores for that contest were 80-71 across the board as Fulton moves to 14 and 0.
Brandon Figueroa lived up to his name, breaking the heart of Escandon but the real story of the night was Joe Joyce who lived up to expectations and moves on to December 1st, the undercard of Wilder-Fury, with both Luis Ortiz and Gerald Washington as rumoured opponents.
The world awaits!
PBC Changes Sunday’s Main Event After Victor Ortiz Charged With Sexual Assault
by: Sean Crose
“John Molina, Jr., who was scheduled to be in the main event, will be rescheduled to return to the ring soon. And former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz, who was slated to face Molina, will no longer be on the card.” So read a Wednesday press release, making it clear that Sunday’s scheduled John Molina – Victor Ortiz battle, which was to be aired live on Fox Sports 1, was cancelled. Although no specific reason was given in the press release, the cancellation comes as no surprise, as Ortiz was arrested on very serious charges of sexual assault this week in California.
Knowing that the show must go on, however, PBC and Fox have offered a replacement for the card’s main event on Sunday. To quote the press release: “Undefeated Featherweight Contender Brandon Figueroa Takes on Former Title Challenger Oscar Escandon in Main Event.” Figueroa is an undefeated up and comer, boasting a record of 16-0, with 11 knockouts to his name. Escandon, Figeroa’s 25-4 opponent, is a former Olympian from Columbia who notably lost to the very impressive Gary Russel Junior back in 2017. A victory over Escandon will help Figueroa on his rise to what he hopes is the top of the division.
As for Ortiz: he was once one of boxing’s most notable names, so much so that he faced Floyd Mayweather in a pay per view match back in 2011. The California based fighter lost that fight in extremely strange fashion, when Mayweather knocked Ortiz out after Ortiz tried to touch gloves after butting Mayweather in the head. Ortiz’ public life has been rather odd ever since. He’s appeared on Dancing With The Stars and in an Expendables film. Yet he’s also been arrested at a country concert, and has only won three of his last seven bouts. What’s more, he’s been knocked out viciously by Louis Collazo and Andre Berto respectively since the Mayweather fiasco.
Regarding Molina, the game veteran was coming in off a win over Ivan Redkach last December in California. A victory over Ortiz would, at the very least, have signaled a win over a name opponent after Molina was stopped b Terence Crawford in the 8th round back in 2016. As of press time, there was no word on who Molina would fight next. As for Ortiz, the certain is particularly uncertain.
“Bad news,” Molina said on Instagram, “the fight has officially been canceled, obviously due to uncontrollable circumstances from Team Ortiz.”
PBC on Fox Sports 1 Preview: Joyce vs. Kiladze, Figueroa vs. Escandon
By: Oliver McManus
*The main event featuring Victor Ortiz has been cancelled as of 9/27/18.
Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce touches down on US soil at the weekend as he looks to continue his rocketing rise up the rankings against Iago Kiladze over eight rounds. The card itself is headlined by a 12 round welterweight contest between Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr with the pair, who’s combined ages hit 66, looking for one final crack at the jackpot.
Truth be told, both gentleman look as though their best days are behind them but you suspect Ortiz will come into it the more confident with the ever brash 31 year old having held talks to fight Brandon Rios earlier in the year – Ortiz admits that he will be throwing fire from the very off, those are his intentions anyway, and the 12 rounds he shared with Devon Alexander, whilst not of any particularly notable quality, will stand him in good stead.
Photo Credit:PBC Twitter Account
Molina is in his second contest since a brutal, one-sided demolition loss to Terence Crawford – a fight that saw him knocked out in the eighth round – and that initial comeback fight, against Ivan Redkach, was far from impressive. A reckless fight, Molina was dropped before sending his counterpart to the canvas twice to claim a fourth round stoppage but that was a result that flattered to deceive.
These two know that, with all due respect, they are fairly inconsequential names in the welterweight division as it stands with no major draw for those at the top, if they are to get back into the mix where they are even being TALKED about in the same sentence as Amir Khan, Manny Pacuqiao and so on then they need to pull it out of the bag and send a statement come Sunday night.
Joe Joyce will be in his sixth paid contest and goes up against the ‘Georgian Grizzly Bear’ in Iago Kiladze. Once hailed as a prospect to watch in the cruiserweight division – some eight years back – Kiladze returned to the ring in 2017 as a heavyweight, following a two year absence, and since then has racked up wins against Byron Polley and Pedro Rodriguez before becoming the prey against Adam Kownacki and Michael Hunter.
Both those defeats came this year – January and June, respectively – and the odds are stacked firmly against him this time around. He’ll give it a go, though, he always does but this fight is more about getting Joyce the American exposure that Ringstar crave so desperately.
In a career filled with late replacements and disappointing opponents, this is the 2nd best foe that Joyce has looked to slay thus far and with a combined 13 rounds under his belt – an average 2.6 per contest – it wouldn’t do him harm to get some rounds under his belt.
Bring on that Putney-Mexican hybrid style of dancing after the fight because Joyce looks certain to win unless Kiladze can produce a colossal upset.
Also in the heavyweight division is Efe Ajagba who will be hoping to get more of a challenge than he did last time out – Curtis Harper, that’s all that needs to be said – and he shares the ring with, also unbeaten, Nick Jones over the course of scheduled six rounds.
Brandon The Heartbreaker Figueroa will look to continue his impressive development by adding Oscar Escandon to a CV already 16 names long – his last three fights have seen him emerge victorious thanks to a knockout and it seems that, as the 21 year old goes through the motions, he’s really growing into his man power and that’s not meant in a disrespectful way but his body is still filling out and if you look at the 3, 4lbs that he’s put – on the scales – over the past couple years then you start to understand where that extra power is coming from.
Escandon, vastly experienced, is looking to cause an upset and resurrect his career which is currently on a drastically downward spiral having lost three of his last four and the last two back to back – against Gary Russel Jr and Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Neither are opponents to sniff at, by no means, but you get the impression that Escandon is becoming a bit of a gatekeeper for these up and coming prospects to get a name on their resumé.
Two ageing sluggers, a James DeGale hoping to look as good as he did four years ago, 11 unbeaten prospects – Figueroa, Joyce, Davies, Ajagba, to name four – and a debutant. Sunday night on FOX Sports 1 delivers it all and it is set to be a stonker.
Ortiz-Molina: Why the Show Must NOT Go On
By: Jake Donovan
While currently out on bail stemming from his latest arrest, there is nothing that legally prevents Victor Ortiz from proceeding with Sunday’s scheduled clash versus John Molina Jr.
It hardly means that the show should go on.
The September 30 edition of PBC on FS1—which takes place at Citizens Business Bank Arena—has now gained national attention, but for all the wrong reasons. One half of its headlining act, Ortiz was arrested Tuesday afternoon on three counts of felony sexual assault—forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and forcible anal and genital penetration by foreign object.
Ortiz surrendered to authorities on Tuesday in response to an arrest warrant issued by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office one day prior, stemming from charges filed on March 19.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Gilbert A. Romero set bail at $100,000, which was posted on behalf of the former welterweight titlist who is due to return VCSC on October 10, according to the filed docket.
A months-long criminal investigation was conducted by the Oxnard Police Department’s Family Protection Unit (FPU), who took over the case shortly after the incident was reported on March 19. According to the police report filed with Oxnard PD, an adult female—whose name has been withheld as per Calfornia Penal Code 293 (Notice of Victim’s Right To Confidentiality)—claimed to have been sexually assaulted inside an Oxnard city residence.
Ortiz was identified as the suspect, and now faces three felony charges that—if found guilty—each carry a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison, none of which are eligible for parole prior to a minimum of 85% of prison time served.
The incident is hardly the first time Ortiz (32-6-3, 25KOs) has run afoul of the law, although most of his sordid past has been limited to an array of traffic violations. The most serious charges the California boxer—by way of Garden City, Kansas—has faced came in separate arrests in 2015 (suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon) and 2016 (DUI), both of which resulted in probation sentences.
For the moment, Ortiz will be permitted to soldier on in the ring as Premier Boxing Champions brass have yet to give any indication in a lineup change. Should the show remain intact, Ortiz will collide with Molina (30-7, 24KOs) in a battle of friends and former sparring partners both of whom have seen better days.
Ortiz was once viewed as a rising star to watch, but has remained best-known—in the ring, at least—for several stoppage losses. His June ’09 loss to Marcos Maidana aired live on HBO, complete with an on-air post-fight interview that left Ortiz wondering if even wanted to continue as a boxer.
It took nearly two years to restore his image, his April ’11 off-the-canvas points win over Andre Berto to win a welterweight title paying homage to the old ‘winning cures many things’ adage. It certainly didn’t hurt that the boxers traded knockdowns and a lot punches in their Fight of the Year-level slugfest.
Ortiz’ title reign was short-lived, although it produced his most high-profile bout to date—an infamous 4th round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Their Sept. ’11 Pay-Per-View headliner in Las Vegas was riddled in controversy, with Ortiz flirting with disqualification after a deliberate headbutt cost him a point on the scorecards and ultimately his cool in the ring. The oft-aloof boxer repeatedly apologized to Mayweather immediately following the incident, to the point of failing to acknowledge that action had resumed as he was subsequently knocked out by a Mayweather combination.
The loss was the first of three straight stoppage defeats. His 9th round loss to Josesito Lopez nine months later—in which Ortiz was unable to continue after suffering a broken jaw earlier in the bout and sustained serious punishment in the later rounds—ruined laid plans for a Sept. ’12 showdown with then-unbeaten 154-pound titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Not even a 15-month ring break—which included a stint on Dancing With the Stars and filming for his acting debut in “The Expendables 3”—was enough to turn things around, as his comeback ended in disaster when former titlist Luis Collazo flattened him in the 2nd round of their Jan. ’14 clash on a New York City card staged during Super Bowl week.
He’s since managed a 3-1-1 run in his last five starts. The non-wins came against his more relevant competition along that stretch, a knockout loss to Berto in their April ’16 rematch and a 12-round draw with fellow former titlist Devon Alexander in his most recent bout this past February, both of which aired live in prime time on Fox TV.
Much was made of his pairing with Molina from the moment the fight was announced. Molina has been out of the ring since December—when he climbed off the deck to stop Ivan Redkach in four rounds—and moves up to welterweight after a career largely spent in the 135- and 140-pound divisions.
Still, the matchup has been met with favorable response given the all-action style of both boxers. Molina—who is just 3-4 in his last seven starts—was lauded for his valiant-in-defeat effort versus Lucas Matthysse in their April ’14 war that was honored by Boxing Writers Association of America as the 2014 Fight of the Year.
The always likeable 35-year old Covina, Calif. Native is stuck in a hard place, as he has the right to extend his career as he sees fit and thus shouldn’t lose an opportunity to get paid this Sunday.
Likewise, Ortiz is certainly due his day in a court of law—where he will be presumed innocent until proven guilty. His current freedom, however, doesn’t need to mean a final solution to the concern of keeping Molina’s fight plans alive.
With news of Ortiz’ arrest coming just hours after disgraced actor-comedian Bill Cosby being sentenced to 3-10 years for aggravated indecent assault, boxing—for a change—needs to put its best foot forward, especially in light of today’s political climate.
PBC Boxing on Showtime Results: Porter Edges Garcia in Thriller
By: Sean Crose
The Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York hosted the WBC welterweight title bout between Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia on Saturday before Showtime cameras. The belt, which was open due to mutli titlist Keith Thurman’s abdication, offered the opportunity for two of the biggest names in the perennially competitive welterweight division to prove who was the better man in the ring.
First on the Showtime card was a 10 round heavyweight contest between the undefeated 17-0 Adam Kownacki and former titlist Charles Martin, 25-1-1. The hard hitting Brooklyn native, by way of Poland, banged away at Martin early on in the first, with Martin offering little in the way of resistance. The second round showcased more of the same. Kownacki’s pace slowed bit in the third, but by the middle of the fourth, he had his man hurt. The bout essentially remained the same throughout the middle rounds. Martin simply didn’t look to be in the fight.
Photo Credit: Showtime TWitter Account
Stepping things up a but, Martin carried the seventh with activity. He also landed effectively in the eighth, taking his second round in a row. The ninth round was a very close affair, with both men throwing and landing hard. The fight had developed a neck and neck feel, but the early rounds might have cost Martin the fight. Regardless of outcome, the final round was absolutely explosive, with each man firing away and giving it his all. Kowacki ended up walking out of the ring with a UD victory.
Next up was a welterweight throwdown between Yordenis Ugas, 22-3, and the 34-3-2 Cesar Barrioneuevo in a scheduled 12 round elimination battle. The first was fast paced, but the discipline and sharp body work of Ugas told the tale. Barrioneuevo looked outclassed in the second and third as Ugas continued to work the body. The Cuban’s foundation and body work were showing him to be a level above his Argentine counterpart. As the fight headed into the middle rounds, it was essentially more of the same Ugas was simply proving to be the more skilled of the two fighters.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
By the eighth, Ugas was ready to ended. The first half of the round saw the Cuban throw furiously at Barrioneuevo, though the game Barrioneuevo survived the onslaught. The fight more or less leveled out after that. Fans at the Barclays Center booed, but there was no denying the disciplined contender was carrying the fight away. Ugas simply dominated from beginning to end, but was not powerful enough to put his game opponent away (which may have had as much to do with Barrionuevo’s chin than it did Ugas’ blows). After the final bell, an obvious UD decision went Ugas’ way.
It was time for the main event. Garcia stepped into the ring with a record of 34-1, while Porter boasted a 28-2-1 resume. The first was a tight affair that Porter may have edged slightly. The second round was razor sharp, yet Garcia looked to perhaps have landed the sharper punches. Garcia landed a beautiful right early in the third, then landed a nice left a few seconds later. Garcia was also avoiding Porter’s right hook effectively. Porter came alive in the fourth, ripping into Garcia’s body. Garcia came back strong in the fifth, landing effectively to the body in his own right.
Photo Credit:Showtime Twitter Account
The sixth saw Porter upping the action. The Ohio native then began to really take it to his man in the seventh. Garcia was very game, though – and very dangerous. Garcia looked better in the eight and ninth, though Porter’s attack was fierce. The tenth was an all out war with each man throwing and landing hard. Things remained close in the eleventh, with Porter going strong to the body, but Garcia having moments of his own. Things ended close, though Garcia looked to have taken the twelfth with cleaner shots.
It was a close bout that could have went either way, but the judges ruled it for Porter with scores of 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113.
Showtime Boxing: Garcia-Porter Preview
by: Sean Crose
Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia will meet in a highly anticipated showdown Saturday night for the WBC welterweight title that was vacated by Keith Thurman. The bout will be the featured attraction on a Showtime card that will begin airing live at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. Both Porter, 28-2-1, and Garcia, 34-1, have lost close bouts to Thurman. What’s more, this is a match which is essentially seen as an even matchup…as well as a step towards a clearer picture of the welterweight pecking order.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
With Thurman still holding the WBA crown, rising star Errol Spence in possession of the IBF title, and Top Rank promoted Terence Crawford owning the WBO strap, the post Mayweather era has been a bit chaotic for the welterweight division. The infrequent ring appearances of many PBC (Premiere Boxing Champions) fighters like Thurman, Spence, Garcia, and Porter, coupled with promotional and network issues between PBC and Top Rank, have made the discovery of a true welterweight king very hard to arrive at. Still, simply knowing who among the top fighters in the division can best who offers at least some sense of clarity. Stylistically, Saturday’s match between the extremely aggressive Porter and the disciplined, sharp punching Garcia, might also make for intriguing viewing.
This weekend’s card will also feature a WBC weltwerweight title elimination bout between the 22-3 Yordenis Ugas and the 34-3-2 Cesar Barrionuevo. Originally from Cuba and now living in Miami, Ugas has been on a hot winning streak since dropping two bouts in 2014. As for Barrionuevo, this will be the Argentine’s first bout on American soil, where he’s hoping to make a good impression on a road to bigger things. On top of the two welterweight battles, Showtime will also be broadcasting a heavyweight scrap from Brooklyn on Saturday night.
The 25-1-1 Charles Martin was briefly in possession of the IBF heavyweight title until he was trounced by Anthony Joshua in 2016. He’ll be on a two fight win streak when he faces the 17-0 Adam Kownacki on Saturday. Kownacki, originally of Poland, will be something of the hometown fighter, as he now resides in Brooklyn and has had numerous fights in the New York area. Having won all 17 of his bouts by knockout, he’s looking to leave his mark on the live television audience. With all but two of his own wins having been by knockout, however, Martin clearly wants re-establish himself as a top heavyweight.
Boxing guru Al Haymon’s PBC has recently signed a three-year extension with Showtime, which means top PBC bouts will be aired on Showtime for some time to come.
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.