The march of Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series across the television landscape continued Tuesday with the expected announcement that he has finalized a deal with yet another network.
Fox Sports 1 announced that PBC will be its exclusive boxing provider and that the cable sports network will televise 21 cards through June 2016. They will take place on Tuesday nights, hence the FS1 marketing slogan of "Toe-To-Toe Tuesdays." The fights will be simulcast on Spanish-language network Fox Deportes.
Since its debut on NBC in prime time on March 7, PBC, which purchases the time for its cards using the some of the roughly $450 million Haymon raised from investors, has rolled out one network deal after another. It now has deals to be the exclusive boxing programming provider with NBC, NBC Sports Net, CBS, ESPN/ESPN Deportes, Spike TV, Bounce TV and now FS1/Fox Deportes.
The PBC deal with FS1 replaces the network's deal with Golden Boy Promotions. FS1 had been paying rights fees to Golden Boy for its cards over the past few years but that deal recently expired.
"We've been invested in boxing as a cornerstone property since launching Fox Sports 1," said David Nathanson, head of business operations for Fox Sports. "Premier Boxing Champions delivers high-profile, high-quality programming that is breaking viewership records in the boxing space. There is no question that this deal makes Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes true destinations for boxing fans."
In making the series announcement, the first four fight cards were also unveiled, beginning with the debut on Sept. 8 (9 p.m. ET), although none of the sites have been locked in.
Here are the fights that were announced:
• Sept.8: Former junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout (29-2, 16 KOs) against Joey Hernandez (24-3-1, 14 KOs) in the main event with junior featherweights Jorge Lara (27-0-1, 19 KOs) and Jesus Rojas (21-1-1, 15 KOs) squaring off in the co-feature.
• Sept. 15: Rising welterweight contender Sammy Vasquez (19-0, 13 KOs) against Jose Lopez (25-3-1, 15 KOs). Light heavyweights Thomas Williams Jr. (18-1, 12 KOs) and Umberto Savigne (12-2, 9 KOs) will meet in the co-feature.
• Sept. 22: Junior middleweight contender Julian Williams (20-0-1, 12 KOs) takes on Luciano Cuello (35-3, 17 KOs). Junior featherweight Moises Flores (23-0, 16 KOs) will defend his interim title against Luis Emmanuel Cusolito (21-1, 19 KOs) in the co-feature.
• Sept. 29: Junior lightweight titlist Javier Fortuna (28-0-1, 20 KOs) will make his first defense when he faces Carlos Velazquez (19-1, 12 KOs). In the co-feature, junior middleweight Domonique Dolton (17-0, 9 KOs) will face 2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina (13-0, 10 KOs).
Brian Kenny, the former longtime host of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights and, more recently, Showtime's "Showtime Championship Boxing," will serve as host of the series.
"I'm so excited to be working on Fox Sports 1 on this new PBC series," Kenny said. "We're looking forward to making boxing even more accessible to the fans, providing world class matchups and putting the spotlight on fighters, who deserve to be seen by both hardcore and mainstream fans. We will be real with the audience, show them respect and give them the landscape of the boxing world."
It has not been made official, but Gus Johnson, who has called various sports, including boxing on Showtime, is slated to be the blow-by-blow announcer. The analyst position has not been filled yet.