The other shoe, no, make that shoes, continue to drop in the wild and wooly world of boxing. CBS will start showing boxing, on the network, not their cable off-shoot, in conjunction with Showtime, starting April 4.
For those playing along at home, that means boxing fans will be able to watch top-tier fights on CBS (with a reach of 110 million house-holds), a couple weeks after watching A grade fare on NBC.
The dealmaker responsible for this radical return to glory days is Al Haymon, the reclusive brainiac who is seemingly seeking to position the sweet science back into the hearts and minds of sports fans to a degree that hasn’t been the case in many a moon.
Mark Saturday, April 4 at 3 p.m. ET on CBS on your calendar, the first of up to eight live events in 2015.
Showtime, which has been quiet while seeing how the landscape shifts, also alerted us to a new date: Saturday, March 28, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present a doubleheader featuring featherweights, WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Gary Russell Jr., and a clash between 154-pound contenders Jermell Charlo and Vanes Martirosyan.
Then, for the CBS premiere on Saturday, April 4 (3 p.m. ET), they will feature light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson defending his WBC title against former super middle champ Sakio Bika. In the co-feature, undefeated light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev will face veteran former world champ Gabriel Campillo. Looking ahead, on Saturday, April 18, SHOWTIME presents Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara. On Saturday, May 9 Premier Boxing Champions returns to CBS for the second installment (4:30 p.m. ET). Undefeated Omar Figueroa, who recently vacated his lightweight world championship to move up in weight to 140 pounds, meets former champion Ricky Burns. Here is the release CBS sent out. Get out your calendars and alert the family, you will be needing to carve out more time to watch fights, friends.
LIVE BOXING RETURNS TO CBS TELEVISION NETWORKWITH MULTI-YEAR VENTURE FROM CBS & SHOWTIME®
CBS Sports Presentation of Premier Boxing Champions To Air In Conjunction With Marquee SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Events
NEW YORK (Feb. 17, 2015) – CBS Sports and SHOWTIME Sports® have announced a multi-year joint venture to present live boxing on the CBS Television Network—the first of up to eight live events in 2015 will premiere on Saturday, April 4 at 3 p.m. ET on CBS. Premier Boxing Champions on CBS will air in conjunction with marquee SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events as part of a partnership that will cross-promote the live programs across multiple platforms.
The first six weeks to begin this venture will feature two of the biggest names in the sport—Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and Adonis Stevenson—and bookend this year’s most anticipated boxing event, the SHOWTIME PPV® presentation of the undisputed pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather.
Each live boxing event on CBS and SHOWTIME will be supported with short- and long-form shoulder programming that will air across multiple platforms including CBS, SHOWTIME and CBS Sports Network. In addition, a significant marketing budget will be dedicated to promoting each of the live CBS broadcasts and each major SHOWTIME telecast with targeted advertising campaigns.
“The Premier Boxing Champions series on CBS will help usher in a new era in the storied history of boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “With the support of our parent company, we are uniquely positioned for a three-tiered approach that includes live boxing broadcasts on America’s No. 1 network, the cable reach of CBS Sports Network and, of course, the premium television leader in boxing, SHOWTIME.The benefit of elevating the sport across these platforms for all involved, including SHOWTIME, is immeasurable.”
The schedule of upcoming live boxing events on CBS and SHOWTIME is as follows:
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
On Saturday, March 28, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present a doubleheader featuring a featherweight showdown between WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez and top contender Gary Russell Jr., and a matchup of 154-pound contenders Jermell Charlo and Vanes Martirosyan. The live SHOWTIME telecast will preview the following week’s April 4 CBS debut of Premier Boxing Champions.
PREMIERE BOXING CHAMPIONS
ON CBSThe CBS premiere on Saturday, April 4 (3 p.m. ET/Noon PT) will feature light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson defending his WBC title against former super middleweight champ Sakio Bika. In the co-feature, undefeated light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev will face veteran former world champ Gabriel Campillo. The CBS broadcast, with its national reach of more than 110 million households, will offer a broad platform to promote a major SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event just two weeks later.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
On Saturday, April 18, SHOWTIME presents the network debut of former world champion and Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., as he takes on light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara.
PREMIERE BOXING CHAMPIONS ON CBS
On Saturday, May 9 Premier Boxing Champions returns to CBS for the second installment (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT). This broadcast will pit undefeated Omar Figueroa, who recently vacated his Lightweight World Championship to move up in weight to 140 pounds, against former champion Ricky Burns.
The April 18 SHOWTIME telecast and the May 9 CBS broadcast will support—and be supported by—the May 2 SHOWTIME PPV event featuring the undefeated, world’s No. 1 ranked fighter, Floyd Mayweather.
Additional confirmed dates for Premier Boxing Champions on CBS include live broadcasts in June, July and September, with up to three remaining events on the 2015 calendar yet to be announced. The live boxing broadcasts on CBS, other than the aforementioned premiere, will be broadcast live at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.
The Premier Boxing Champions series was created for television by Haymon Sports. It is the first consistent series presentation of live boxing on CBS in 15 years. The network aired a one-off live event featuring current WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz in 2012. Prior to that, the last live boxing on the network was in 1997 when then-middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins knocked out Glen Johnson.
Live boxing was a staple on the network in the 1980s, consistently featuring future Hall of Famers Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and others. Boxing’s history on CBS dates back to 1948 when the Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts premiered featuring legendary blow-by-blow commentator Russ Hodges.
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