There are those that still question the viability and potential of the Premier Boxing Champions series that debuted a year ago on NBC. Although Al Haymon’s brainchild maintains the deepest stable in boxing, the question of long-term success in the current climate is really where fans and media differ.
However, there is no questioning the impact PBC has had on younger fighters in need of plenty dates per year and high profile television appearances. In the past, outlets such as ShoBox: The New Generation and ESPN’s now defunct Friday Night Fights were the only platforms available for up-and-coming fighters with the potential for meteoric rises.
When you look at fighters like Robert Easter Jr., Erickson Lubin, and Caleb Plant, you see a trend start to develop. Are these names commercial successes or even overly recognized within the hardcore boxing circles? No, not really. However, they are much more known today than they were in 2014, before the PBC allowed them the platform in all its abundance.
And that’s not to say that the aforementioned fighters wouldn’t have become something special under the typical ShoBox and ESPN platforms, but it wouldn’t have come as quickly as the PBC was able to achieve.
Mario Barrios is scheduled to fight today on PBC’s series Toe-To-Toe Tuesdays on Fox Sports 1 at the Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, CA. Barrios is quite possibly the next PBC prospect to benefit from the array of dates on major networks that maintain a full reach in viewership.
It could be argued that Barrios has already benefited. After all, he did appear on seven PBC cards, including the off-TV portion of the March 7th PBC debut card last year which featured a welterweight showdown between Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero. However, most of his appearances have been off TV or on the portion of the card that was not featured on the main event telecast. Not to mention, Barrios is more well-known than he was at the start of last year when he was a mere 7-0 prospect.
Barrios is still a prospect, but he is on more radars than ever before, and we shouldn’t forget how quickly a prospect can be moved to contender under the PBC banner.
If you look at fighters like Errol Spence Jr., Sammy Vasquez, and Julian “J Rock” Williams, you will see three guys that were on the prospect/contender bubble and used PBC to completely transform their position within the sport. Were any one of these three fighters considered prospects in the technical sense of the word? No, not really. But the lines were only furthered blur because of how well the PBC works at furthering careers.
Mario Barrios will make his 2016 debut tonight as the co-feature of a televised card. It is reasonable to consider that his very next matchup could be a main event on the very same Toe-To-Toe Tuesday’s series. Then, who knows? Barrios could end 2016 with the prospect title completely shed. He could be a true fan favorite on the verge of becoming a real star in the sport.
Robert Easter had four fights on the PBC platform, Erickson Lubin had four PBC apperances, and Caleb Plant had 6 fights.
Now, Easter is set to have a true step up fight against Algenis Mendez while Lubin and Plant are positioned to further their careers within the remainder of the year.
Barrios is still a question mark in a lot of ways, but the best part about the PBC is that fighters like Barrios will receive and present answers quicker than any other outlet has ever allowed.