Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will be making their Spike TV debut on March 13th. The event is a scheduled doubleheader
Drawing from a deep stable of talented fighters, Haymon Boxing has paired up Josesito Lopez of Riverside, California against Haitian Olympian Andre Berto. Also on the card will be the return of ultra-talented Shawn Porter, who looks to make a statement against veteran Roberto Garcia.
Haymon Boxing’s deal with NBC Sports, as well as Spike TV, is well documented throughout the boxing world, and many are excited for the return of boxing to a network television.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this extraordinary event on Spike TV,” said Tom Brown of Goossen Promotions. “These two fights will undoubtedly provide non-stop action for the fans in the arena and those watching at home.”
Former IBF titleholder Shawn “Showtime” Porter (24-1-1, 15 KO) will be up first against contender Roberto “La Amenaza” Garcia (36-3, 23 KO). Garcia, a fourteen-year ring veteran, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Breidis Prescott in July on top of an eight-fight win-streak. Garcia looks to capture a career-changing victory over Porter.
“I’m grateful that I’m going to be part of something that is going to be great for this sport, and that is being on the first PBC event on Spike TV,” said Garcia. “Shawn Porter is a great world class fighter. He is the kind of fighter that you need to beat to be seen at the ‘A-level’ in boxing. This is the fight that can change my career and my life. I’m already training as hard as I can. I’m giving it everything I have in the gym so I can give everything I have on March 13.”
Porter is coming off an August decision loss to U.K.’s Kell Brook, before that Porter was on an undefeated run that included wins over Alfonso Gomez, Julio Diaz, Devon Alexander (for the IBF title) and Paulie Malignaggi. Prior to the Brook loss, Porter seemed to be steamrolling his way towards a possible Mayweather fight, or a showdown with fellow American standout Keith “One Time” Thurman. Thurman is now scheduled to fight against Robert Guerrero on an NBC card in March and Porter looks to get back to his winning ways against Garcia.
“The opportunity to fight on Spike TV and show my skills in front of millions of people is very exciting. Being a part of the first PBC event on Spike TV is an honor,” Porter explained. “My opponent has a great record and he’s a veteran. He’s strong and durable, and he’s going to be a ready when he gets into that ring. I expect it to be a very tough fight, but a great fight. Of course, I expect to win, and I expect to look very good doing it.”
The fights will be taking place on a Friday night in Ontario California, about thirty minutes away from Lopez’s hometown of Riverside. Both Lopez (33-6, 19 KO) and Berto (29-3, 22 KO) are volume-punching fighters with the courage to take their opponent’s best shot, just ask Victor Ortiz, their common adversary.
Berto traded two knockdowns with Ortiz in a 2011 fight-of-the-year type fight, and Lopez broke Ortiz’s jaw in the ninth round of a career-defining win for Lopez. Now the two action-prone fighters will throw down for bragging rights in Spike TV’s first PBC main-event.
“Fighting on the Premier Boxing Champions series on Spike TV is huge for all of us and for the sport of boxing,” said Berto. “This is going to take all of us to a whole different level and give us the chance to become household names,” Berto continued, “Fighting on free television is what made guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler huge stars and I’m ready for my chance to do the same. I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my career, and you’re going to see a new and rejuvenated Andre Berto on March 13th on Spike TV so make sure to tune in.”
Lopez is particularly excited to be fighting in front of a hometown crowd again. He showed a warrior’s heart in losing battles to Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana in 2012 and 2013. Although he lost both fights, he showed incredible determination and went out swinging, as a “Rocky” should.
“This is definitely going to be the fight of my life, and I’m excited,” Lopez explained, “I’m looking forward to all of my local fans being there to witness a great victory. I’m fighting a really good fighter in Berto, but every fighter is dangerous. I know I have to prepare even better than ever. On March 13, I expect a big crowd because I’m fighting so close to home, and my fans have been so supportive wherever I fight. I’m confident that I’m going to give the fans in attendance and on television a great performance.”
Al Haymon has received his fair share of criticism in boxing; now it’s his turn fight back with intriguing match-ups. The stage is set, the fighters are hungry and it’s time to see if the PBC can impress the boxing world.