Premier Boxing Champions brought the stars out this week to announce its early 2019 schedule with new partner Fox Sports.
The lineup from December through April has many big names, but the majority of the fights appears to be mismatches or tuneup bouts. That hasn’t sat well with fight fans on social media.
And the most anticipated fight of the group won’t be on “free” TV.
Mikey Garcia will move up two weight classes to challenge IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on March 16 on a Fox pay-per-view event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It’s a megabout with two of the sport’s best boxers, but even this one could turn into a mismatch. Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion, might not have the size and power to keep up with Spence.
Garcia is 3 inches shorter than Spence, and it seemed like a lot more when they faced off during a news conference Tuesday in Los Angeles.
“We’re thrilled to have Premier Boxing Champions’ brightest stars coming to Fox Sports reaching the biggest audiences on broadcast television,” Fox Sports president Mark Silverman said in a statement.
The partnership with Fox is good for the Las Vegas-based promotional company and the sport. PBC boxers will be exposed to a bigger audience fighting on broadcast TV and on basic cable with Fox Sports 1.
Showtime, the premium cable network, is still partners with PBC and plans on doing business together for a long time, but Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza probably isn’t losing sleep over the fights Fox got to start the year.
One of the fights on Fox will feature the return of Keith Thurman, a former unified welterweight champion who hasn’t fought in almost two years. He shouldn’t have a problem against Josesito Lopez on Jan. 26.
Probably the most competitive bout on the PBC Fox lineup is Shawn Porter’s WBC welterweight title defense against Yordenis Ugas on March 9 at T-Mobile Arena.
That fight isn’t big enough to headline a card at T-Mobile, which can hold more than 20,000 for a boxing event. There has to be a bigger main event in the works. Maybe Floyd Mayweather, who has been itching for a comeback bout, is added to the card.
“Money May” would make this boxing schedule a lot more appealing.
Manny Pacquiao will return to the U.S. next week to announce his Jan. 19 welterweight title defense against Adrien Broner during a two-city tour.
The first news conference is scheduled for Monday in New York City, with the final stop Tuesday in Los Angeles. The Showtime pay-per-view bout will be in Las Vegas, most likely at the MGM Grand Garden.
Pacquiao, a former eight-division champion, hasn’t fought in the U.S. since defeating Jessie Vargas in November 2016 at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Filipino senator is coming off a technical knockout of Lucas Matthysse to win the WBA secondary title in July.
Broner, one of boxing’s most outlandish figures, returns for the first time since his majority draw with Vargas in April.
PBC on Fox
Notable fights from PBC Fox schedule:
— Jermall Charlo vs. Willie Monroe Jr., middleweights, Dec. 22
— Keith Thurman vs. Josesito Lopez, welterweights, Jan. 26
— Leo Santa Cruz vs. Miguel Flores, featherweights, Feb. 16
— Shawn Porter vs. Yordenis Ugas, welterweights, March 9
— Errol Spence vs. Mikey Garcia, welterweights, March 16
— Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados, welterweights, April 20