Former junior welterweight world champion Danny Garcia and former two-division titleholder Robert Guerrero will kick off the Premier Boxing Champions' slate of Saturday night prime-time cards on Fox, PBC announced Tuesday.
Garcia and Guerrero will meet in a scheduled 12-round welterweight fight Jan. 23 (8 p.m. ET) at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the first of at least three prime-time dates on Fox in 2016. The others are March 12 and July 16.
"I'm excited to be fighting in prime time on Fox and to get back in the ring in such a big way," Garcia said. "I know people are going to say this is a Puerto Rico versus Mexico matchup, but I fight for all Latinos and I have the fan-friendly style to back it up. Guerrero comes to fight, and he's faced the best in the sport. This is a huge opportunity for me to show why I'm a star. There's no better place to do that than in Los Angeles, where stars are born."
Garcia (31-0,18 KOs), 27, of Philadelphia, vacated his junior welterweight title this past summer to move up to welterweight, where he knocked out faded former welterweight and junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi in the ninth round on a PBC on ESPN card Aug. 1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Now Garcia is taking on another good name who has seen better days in the ring in Guerrero, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist who also has won interim belts at lightweight and welterweight.
"Garcia and Guerrero are two of the toughest guys in the sport today," said Tom Brown, whose TGB Promotions is promoting the card on behalf of PBC. "They leave it all in the ring every time out and they're going to give the great Los Angeles sports fans a memorable night of action. There's no better way to start off the New Year and no more suited venue for it than Staples Center."
Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs), 32, of Gilroy, California, has been awfully shaky in his past four fights, including one-sided losses to then-welterweight world champion Floyd Mayweather and to welterweight titlist Keith Thurman on March 7 in the first PBC card on NBC in prime time.
During that four-fight stretch, Guerrero was pushed to the limit in a 12-round decision win in an unexpectedly grueling fight with Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai and a 10-round split-decision victory against journeyman Aron Martinez on June 6 in a fight in which Martinez dropped Guerrero in the fourth round. Although Guerrero got the decision, many thought Martinez won the fight.
But Guerrero said he is up for the fight with Garcia.
"If there ever was a fight that defined the word 'war,' it's this fight," Guerrero said. "What a great way to kick off the return of prime-time boxing on Fox. I guarantee this is going to be a historic fight. A Mexican-American versus a Puerto Rican-American -- it's a bitter rivalry. Danny Garcia is a great champion, and I know we're going to put on a tremendous show. Jan. 23, it's going to be fireworks, and I can't wait."
The rest of the card has not been announced.
"We're thrilled to present the first professional boxing on Fox in almost 20 years with Premier Boxing Champions' exciting prime-time Saturday shows," said David Nathanson, the Fox Sports head of business operations. "With the success of the PBC's Tuesday night boxing series on FS1 and Fox Deportes, we knew boxing would make a great addition to Fox alongside the Fox Sports portfolio."
Veteran boxing announcer Brian Kenny will host the inaugural edition of PBC on Fox, and Gus Johnson will serve as the blow-by-blow announcer. The cards will be simulcast on Fox Deportes in Spanish.
PBC creator Al Haymon already has been putting on regular Tuesday night cards on Fox Sports 1 as part of a time-buy deal that calls for 21 shows through June 2016 on the sports cable network. Haymon is using some $450 million in investor money for the PBC project, for which he has purchased time on a variety of networks, including ESPN/ABC, NBC, NBC Sports Net, CBS, Spike TV, Bounce TV, Fox and Fox Sports 1.