Fight fans, you put up with a lot of BS. The no brainer fights that obviously should get made don’t because of territorial marking, because too often personal conflicts get in the way of smart business decisions which would also most benefit the customers. Too many of the best bouts get kicked to PPV, and name fighters get too many showcase bouts, for reasons that are unfathomable to most of us.
I may get proved wrong, I hope I am, but I am still searching for how and why Kelly Pavlik, who hasn’t looked real sharp in three years, gets an opportunity against maybe the best pugilist in the world, Andre Ward. Hey, I’m no dummy, I get it that “names” get gigs, that many guys whose best days are way in the rear view mirror keep getting title cracks, because they have a rep (cough cough Zab Judah)….Again, let’s just say I hope Kelly Pavlik shocks the whole world on Jan. 26, because it’s hard to see how Andre Ward doesn’t toy with him….But I digress…
On to some good news–boxing is getting back on free TV, on CBS and then on NBC, and that is something to celebrate.
For too long, the promoters have been coasting. “The networks won’t put on boxing.” “We have a bad reputation, it’s Don King’s fault.” “Advertisers don’t want to touch boxing.” And there was some merit in the explanations/excuses…but boxing content has been too often the proverbial needle in the cable haystack, hard to find unless you hunted hard for it. There’s no substitute for having a compelling, action fight on a free terrestrial channel. Idle channel flippers can happen across the bout, and stay awhile, and voila…new fight fans are born! Radical concept, isn’t it!? So, CBS will be first out of the block and then NBC will show Main Events bouts on Dec. 22, kicking off at 4 PM. Here is the release that went out touting the Dec. 15 “free TV” event on CBS.
NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2012) – Boxing returns to network television when SHOWTIME Sports, Golden Boy Promotions and CBS Television Network team up for an unprecedented day-night doubleheader that features up to seven live fights on two networks on Saturday, Dec. 15 from the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
A special Saturday of boxing will begin with a live afternoon doubleheader of “SHOWTIME Boxing on CBS” (4:30 p.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. PT, CBS). In the main event, voracious young IBF Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 13 KOs) will face fellow unbeaten Alberto “Metro” Guevara (16-0, 6 KOs) of Mazatlan, Mexico.
2012 United States Olympian, the highly regarded Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr., 19, of South El Monte, Calif., will make his anticipated professional debut against an opponent to be announced in the opening bout of the CBS broadcast.
It has been 15 years since CBS last aired live boxing. On Jan. 20, 1997, the most watched network presented then-middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins’ knock-out win over Glen Johnson. The most recent broadcast network presentation of live boxing was The Contender in 2005.
“We are proud to deliver one of today’s most exciting fighters in Leo Santa Cruz, taking on an undefeated challenger in Alberto Guevara, to a broadcast television audience,” said SHOWTIME Sports Executive Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Espinoza. “Coupled with the pro debut of Olympian Jo-Jo Diaz on CBS and the evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event makes December 15 a very special day for boxing.”
Later that evening, SHOWTIME EXTREME (8:30 p.m. ET/PT) and SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) will present an additional slate of boxing on the premium network. The live fistic marathon will culminate with popular fan favorite and former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion and British superstar, Amir “King” Khan (26-3, 18 KOs), of Bolton England, facing undefeated contender Carlos Molina (17-0-1, 7 KOs), a former National Amateur Champion from Norwalk, Calif., in a 12-round junior welterweight fight. Additional fights on SHOWTIME and preliminary fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME are to be announced.
This has been a breakout year for the fast-rising, 5-foot-7½, 24-year-old Santa Cruz, who’ll be making his fifth start of 2012. He won the IBF 118-pound crown with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga last June 2. A volume-punching pressure fighter, Santa Cruz retained his title with a fifth-round technical knockout win over former World Champion Eric Morel on Sept. 15 and by ninth-round knockout over Victor Zaleta this past Nov. 10. All three of his thrilling title fights were on SHOWTIME.
Guevara, who will be making his United States debut, has fought exclusively in Mexico with all but six of his pro fights in his native Mazatlan. A pro since November 2009, Guevara will be fighting for the third time this year. He is coming off of a unanimous eight-round decision victory over Raul Hidalgo last Aug. 4 in Mazatlan. Guevara’s most noteworthy victory came two outings ago when he captured a lopsided 10-round decision in a wild, one-sided bout against Khabir Suleymanov on April 14, of this year.
Diaz is a talented, promising southpaw who was the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. A two-time national amateur champion at bantamweight and graduate of South El Monte High, Diaz went 108-6 in the amateurs. He advanced to the round of 16 in the London Games before losing to top-rated Cuban and eventual Bronze medalist, Lazaro Alvarez. Diaz, who is trained by his father, turns pro with one immediate goal: buy his parents a new house.
Other bouts on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME EXTREME will be announced soon. All the fistic action on Saturday, Dec. 15 is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T.