BOXING IS BACK: To Primetime, And on NBC, Courtesy Al Haymon

Boxing is back, baby. It’s got a rich history, and it’s not a thuggy sport, just for old men. That was the message I received as I watched the streaming presser for the Premier Boxing Champions Series, which will run on NBC Primetime and NBC cable, as put together by Haymon Promotions.

A presser occurred at NBC headquarters on Wedneday morning, and it ran a half hour. Select media were invited to the intimate gathering, while others were sent a stream link. For the record, as a BWAA first vice president I firmly feel all viable boxing media, and damn right, that includes internet only reporters, should have been given access, as I think this is a freedom of the press issue. That said, there was other elements to like, some very much so..

March 11, the series will premiere, on NBC, in primetime, and Al Michaels will host, and Sugar Ray Leonard will do analysis. The mainer will be a welter tangle between Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero. Adrian Broner will fight rugged contender John Molina as a support bout. The main event for their next show, April 11, was also announced. Danny Garcia will not fight Rod Salka… Sorry, inside joke for the hardcore. He will meet Lamont Peterson, I think from Brooklyn and Barclays Center.

Select media and select stream-invitees saw a whole bunch of NBC management introed by host Liam McHugh, known for his hockey coverage. Nice messaging, his youthful face, a little touch reminding people that boxing isn’t only for smelly old men. Those waiting to see advisor/not promoter Al Haymon were disappointed, as the reclusive power broker was barely mentioned, and never seen. Was he behind the curtain? I do not know. I hoped Robert Duran, on site, would stride into the dummy ring/set, and tear off a mask, and voila, there would be Haymon. Alas, no, my acid dream scenario didn’t happen..

The event got an extra rub by being held in Studio 8H, home to Saturday Night Live. A video of highlights of boxing on NBC ran, and we were reminded that this sport has a majestic history. Also, the last time boxing ran on NBC prime time came 30 years ago, when Larry Holmes fought Carl The Truth Williams. I watched…

Al Michaels said he was psyched to be back in the boxing biz. He got his start in 1977, on ABC. You might want to Google that particular black eye special. Ah, this red light district of sports.

Michaels managed to get in a stiff one-two on old partner Howard Cosell, as well, showing he still got snap.

Composer Hans Zimmer will work to lift the drama factor with music prepared for the scraps, we heard. Also, random Olympic style testing will be done on PBC fighters, which is good news for those that care if fighters are taking Super Vitamins, or not. Also, we were told that fighters will scrap three or four times a year, good news as familiarity in this case breeds not contempt but..familiarity, and a reason to follow a story line.

For the record, NBC will run 11 PBC events, with five being on prime time.

Ill will was bred with many media feeling stiffed they didn’t get an invite. It felt to me like the Haymon crew wanted to present this series as a non-niche thing, and wanted mainstream, old guard media to tout it. Does the internet brigade feel dissed? Yes. Should they? Yes. I wish this was handled more deftly, with MUCH more transparency. This portion of the rollout was fumbled, to my mind, zero ifs ands or buts. That said, we hope things will smooth out from here and I will be lobbying for inclusion, not exclusion.

Lots to like regarding this venture, and I hope it lifts the sport as a whole, and fans get the love they have been too often missing out on.

Your thoughts, gang?

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

Cool. Sugar Ray and AM will be cool to listen to. These fights should of happened but what the hell, I will take em as I can get em. I would think tsAH would have come out from behind the curtain today, The MC could of said LIVE FROM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON IT'S AL HAYMONNNN!!!!! So he will stay in the shadows and keep his moniker tsAH. With EM on inviting more press because as the old saying goes, Out with the old and in with the new. Internet authors are running the show and the prominent ones should have been invited. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. Hugo L. Black, (New York Times Company v. United States, 1971). They might of asked some questions like: If the Champs are going to fight 4 times a year , who are they going to fight 6- 8 times in 2 years? Why was USADA testing chosen instead of VADA? and questions like that.


-oubobcat :

I love the fact that boxing is going back to NBC both primetime and during the afternoon. And I love the first two announced fight cards. Thurman-Guerrero and Garcia-Peterson are great competitive matches that either participant can win. So what other matches will we see? I posted earlier I was concerned that we could see a strong start followed by mediocrity (or worse). But as I think about it more, I don't think so. Why? Haymon is spending his own (along with some investors) money to get onto NBC. Why do so when he could sell mediocre fights to Showtime instead who we have seen will buy them? He bought time from NBC for a reason. He's not going to waste his or his investors money on junk. I think by and large we are going to see high caliber cards. His future endeavors need this to succeed. As I put more thought into this, I am pumped. I think 2015 is going to be a huge year for the sport. Here is a question too I have not seen asked. Haymon has signed now somewhere around 150 fighters. These fighters will all need work and all can't fit into the NBC time slots. Obviously, he has to put on some sort of undercards. I wonder if he will stream the cards online to gain more exposure for his fighters. As many of you know, I am for as much televised boxing as possible. Haymon is innovative and will want to get all his guys as much exposure as possible. We will see...I also do see rumors floating around that he may have also purchased time on Spike Network.


-The Shadow :

I love the fact that boxing is going back to NBC both primetime and during the afternoon. And I love the first two announced fight cards. Thurman-Guerrero and Garcia-Peterson are great competitive matches that either participant can win. So what other matches will we see? I posted earlier I was concerned that we could see a strong start followed by mediocrity (or worse). But as I think about it more, I don't think so. Why? Haymon is spending his own (along with some investors) money to get onto NBC. Why do so when he could sell mediocre fights to Showtime instead who we have seen will buy them? He bought time from NBC for a reason. He's not going to waste his or his investors money on junk. I think by and large we are going to see high caliber cards. His future endeavors need this to succeed. As I put more thought into this, I am pumped. I think 2015 is going to be a huge year for the sport. Here is a question too I have not seen asked. Haymon has signed now somewhere around 150 fighters. These fighters will all need work and all can't fit into the NBC time slots. Obviously, he has to put on some sort of undercards. I wonder if he will stream the cards online to gain more exposure for his fighters. As many of you know, I am for as much televised boxing as possible. Haymon is innovative and will want to get all his guys as much exposure as possible. We will see...I also do see rumors floating around that he may have also purchased time on Spike Network.
OU Bobcat, my friend: NBC. CBS. ESPN. SHO. Spike TV. And most importantly, OTT. What's a goon to a goblin... #BigPicture WWE. UFC. PBC. Trademark that bitch. Check the patent office. Check. Check. Check.


-The Commish :

If tsAH puts on six or seven fights per card using the fighters he has been signing, that's 12-14 of his guys getting work each card--and there will be 20 cards. Then there will be other shows and networks he is working on other ventures with. That's why he has been gobbling up so much young talent. Just about all of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team has gone to him. In fact, I think every male participant is with Haymon. They all have been developing very nicely. Their overall record is 109-0 with around 79 knockouts. Guys like Errol Spence and Marcus Browne are ready to step into the world-class arena. Broner-Molina. Guerrero-Thurman. These are quality network fights. Al Haymon had promised to make an announcement in early 2015 which would get fans excited. He did and we are. Nice work, tsAH. -Randy G.


-SouthPawFlo :

Where all the people who said Haymon is a Cancer to Boxing???


-Froggy :

Where all the people who said Haymon is a Cancer to Boxing???
One of them is right here ! Things look great for his first couple cards and to get boxing on Network TV is great news ! I hope I am wrong about tsAH, just as I am sure others who said tsAH is a Cancer to boxing hope they are wrong ! Only time will tell, his track record is not great !


-deepwater2 :

One of them is right here ! Things look great for his first couple cards and to get boxing on Network TV is great news ! I hope I am wrong about tsAH, just as I am sure others who said tsAH is a Cancer to boxing hope they are wrong ! Only time will tell, his track record is not great !
After getting crap like Berto vs No Chance,Garcia vs Salka, Stevenson running from Kovalev, ect ect , tsAH has earned all the ridicule he received. If we get the fights we want than no more ridicule directed at tsAH. He has 150 balls in his court so lets hope for the best. I am relieved we are getting these fights that should of happened last year. Kind of like a landlord getting the rent paid in full after 6 months of no rent. Relieved more than happy.


-The Shadow :

Where all the people who said Haymon is a Cancer to Boxing???
Probably on suicide watch. LOL


-Froggy :

Probably on suicide watch. LOL
It doesn't bother me to be wrong Shadow, and I sure hope I am wrong this time ! I been wrong many times in the past and will no doubt be wrong many times in the future !


-deepwater2 :

It doesn't bother me to be wrong Shadow, and I sure hope I am wrong this time ! I been wrong many times in the past and will no doubt be wrong many times in the future !
FRoggy, You just want the best fighting the best like the rest of us do! If history repeats itself, the fans of tsAH, will be on the ledge ready to jump.LOL


-Froggy :

FRoggy, You just want the best fighting the best like the rest of us do! If history repeats itself, the fans of tsAH, will be on the ledge ready to jump.LOL
Ha,ha, ha, good one Deep !


-Radam G :

Cool. Sugar Ray and AM will be cool to listen to. These fights should of happened but what the hell, I will take em as I can get em. I would think tsAH would have come out from behind the curtain today, The MC could of said LIVE FROM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON IT'S AL HAYMONNNN!!!!! So he will stay in the shadows and keep his moniker tsAH. With EM on inviting more press because as the old saying goes, Out with the old and in with the new. Internet authors are running the show and the prominent ones should have been invited. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. Hugo L. Black, (New York Times Company v. United States, 1971). They might of asked some questions like: If the Champs are going to fight 4 times a year , who are they going to fight 6- 8 times in 2 years? Why was USADA testing chosen instead of VADA? and questions like that.
They are using USADA instead of VADA because it is all about show and blow over show and tell. And the reality of the actuality, they don't really want to sell. The pugs on dat syet, this back-to-TV telecasting doesn't want to give any hell. Let the blows be thrown and the sweat and blood drip. We are in for a heckuva ride. See no evil! Hear no evil! Speak no evil! And enjoy the wild trip. Holla!


-Radam G :

If tsAH puts on six or seven fights per card using the fighters he has been signing, that's 12-14 of his guys getting work each card--and there will be 20 cards. Then there will be other shows and networks he is working on other ventures with. That's why he has been gobbling up so much young talent. Just about all of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team has gone to him. In fact, I think every male participant is with Haymon. They all have been developing very nicely. Their overall record is 109-0 with around 79 knockouts. Guys like Errol Spence and Marcus Browne are ready to step into the world-class arena. Broner-Molina. Guerrero-Thurman. These are quality network fights. Al Haymon had promised to make an announcement in early 2015 which would get fans excited. He did and we are. Nice work, tsAH. -Randy G.
No pun intended. But the world doesn't care about that 2012 U.S. O Team. Most of them are bums on short rides. And they are 109-0 because have been fighting cavaders, marshmallows and tomato cans. Off the mainland if the USA, they are jokes. TsAH is a darn protector of the weak pugs. You are such a boxing romantic, Commish. Holla!


-Radam G :

Where all the people who said Haymon is a Cancer to Boxing???
I don't know. But often cancer is tricky and then all at once, from out if nowhere -- BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! It has spread all over your arse and five more. Holla!


-Radam G :

One of them is right here ! Things look great for his first couple cards and to get boxing on Network TV is great news ! I hope I am wrong about tsAH, just as I am sure others who said tsAH is a Cancer to boxing hope they are wrong ! Only time will tell, his track record is not great !
He is a d@mn cancer. Only time will tell if he is malignant or benign. Holla!


-riverside :

wouldn't trust him as far as can throw, He hasn't done good to the sport yet, but he is Very sharp individual we are talking about to say the least, but proven to be a bad business Partner, Just ask Oscar? it's also natural for the people at NBC to have some sense of mistrust with this guy, Lawyers are probably micro scoping all his contracts. Up to the date he has been good to only a hand full clients but not the partners. I'm hoping that I'm wrong!