In the past couple of years, boxing fans have seen upstart networks such as Epix, NBC Sports Net and WealthTV add boxing to their menu of programming selections. Now you can add Bounce TV to the growing list.
Bounce TV, whose other sports offerings include college football games from historically black schools, will carry its first boxing card on Friday night (7:30 ET) as a co-production with Pursuit TV, a hunting and fishing cable network that is available on DirecTV and Dish Network (and which carried a Don King card in June).
The card, promoted by South Florida-based Acquinity Sports, will take place at the BB&T Center (home of the NHL's Florida Panthers) in Sunrise, Fla. Headlining the show will be former junior featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Joan Guzman (33-0-1, 20 KOs), a native of the Dominican Republic based in New York, facing Khabib Allakhverdiev (17-0, 8 KOs) of Russia for a vacant junior welterweight belt.
On its website, Bounce TV cites Martin Luther King III as one of its founders and describes itself as "the first African-American broadcast network, featuring a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, sporting events, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-network series, original programming and more."
If you've never heard of Bounce TV, you probably aren't alone. I hadn't heard of it either, until Henry Rivalta of Acquinity Sports told me it would be carrying Friday's card. Then, lo and behold, I found it on my Northern Virginia cable system and set the DVR for the fight card. In addition to certain cable systems picking up Bounce TV, it's also free over the air on the signals of many local stations around the country.
Although Guzman is still undefeated and has won belts in two weight classes, his reputation has taken hits over the years because he has been in some awful fights and because he has blown weight multiple times, including being nine pounds overweight for a 2010 lightweight title fight against Ali Funeka. Guzman also tested postive for a banned substance after a 2010 fight in Las Vegas, sending him into an 11-month layoff because of a suspension.