Promoter Top Rank, which lost roughly 30 dates annually when Spanish-language network Telefutura canceled the weekly Friday night series "Solo Boxeo" at the end of 2008 for economic reasons, is filling the void.
Bob Arum's company, which controlled about three-quarters of the Telefutura dates, is finalizing a deal for 36 dates with Fox Sports en Espanol and sister network Fox Sports Net in 2010, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN.com Friday.
The deal calls for Top Rank to deliver three shows a month to the networks. Under the terms of the deal, two of the shows each month will come from sites in the United States. A third show each month will take place at a site in Mexico with Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, a leading Mexican promoter and Top Rank's longtime close associate, taking the lead.
They will air live at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday nights, although occasional shows will begin at 11 p.m. ET, including the Jan. 16 premiere of the still-untitled series.
Each show will air live on Fox Sports en Espanol. Each card will also be available for English-language simulcast on Fox Sports Net, although only one of the monthly shows is guaranteed to have 100 percent clearance on Fox Sports Net's numerous regional cable outlets. However, all of the cards will be available for the regional networks to pick up live or on a delayed basis if they have the desire, duBoef said.
"I think the regularity of boxing shows for any promotional company is the foundation of building talent and attractions, and this series will do that," said duBoef, who has been working on the deal for more than a year.
Here are the shows that Top Rank already has scheduled:
• The Jan. 16 premiere will take place at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas and likely will feature former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey against Michel Rosales. That's one of the cards that will be available live on both networks, duBoef said.
• The Jan. 30 card will come from Toluca, Mexico, and feature former titleholder Jorge Arce of Mexico against Indonesia's Angky Angkota for the junior bantamweight title recently vacated by Marvin Sonsona when he failed to make weight.
• On Feb. 6, lightweight prospects Brandon Rios and Jorge Teron will meet at a site to be determined in Texas.
• The Feb. 20 show is expected to feature former junior welterweight titlist Kendall Holt, who hasn't fought since losing his belt to Tim Bradley in an April unification bout. Holt could be in a title eliminator with the right to challenge titleholder Juan Urango at stake.
• Welterweight prospect Mike Jones of Philadelphia will appear in the Feb. 27 main event at Bally's in Atlantic City, N.J., against an opponent to be named. Top Rank is working on the show with Jones promoter Russell Peltz.
• The March 6 card will come from Mexico, but the fights have not been determined.
• On March 20, heavyweight prospect Odlanier Solis, a 2004 Cuban Olympian, will headline from Key West, Fla., against an opponent to be determined. It's possible he could face Ray Austin in a title eliminator with the right to face Vitali Klitschko on the line.
Fox isn't paying a rights fee for the cards, but duBoef didn't want to go into the specifics of how deal was structured. He termed the deal "a partnership between Top Rank, Fox, our sponsors and Top Rank's international television clients."
One thing that certainly helps Top Rank is that the cards are on Saturday nights, the most appealing night for televised boxing. That makes the shows more attractive to the numerous international television networks that Top Rank deals with, particularly throughout Latin America.
Since Top Rank also puts on pay-per-view cards and HBO cards on Saturday nights, duBoef said they will "work around scheduling conflicts with big fights." For example, since Top Rank is doing an HBO card on Jan. 23 from New York, duBoef purposely didn't schedule a Fox card.
Top Rank ran regular Spanish-language boxing shows Univision and later sister network Telefutura from 2000 through the cancellation of "Solo Boxeo" at the end of 2008.
After "Solo Boxeo" was canceled, Top Rank tried to replace it with a series of cards on Mexico's TV Azteca, which also aired many of the cards on its U.S. counterpart Azteca America. However, the cards were sporadic and suffered from an irregular schedule and woeful production, which led Top Rank to look elsewhere.
"These are regular dates and it's very exciting," Arum said of the new series. "It's great for boxing. We have our sponsors all lined up and we're ready to go. These will be bigger shows than we had on Telefutura."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com