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Premier Boxing Champions Lands CBS, Showtime

It certainly isn’t the announcement that many in the boxing community are still hoping for, but Premier Boxing Champions has landed another television series, this time with CBS and Showtime Sports.

The multiyear joint venture calls for up to eight live Premier Boxing Champions events to air on the most-watched broadcast network in 2015. The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, also calls for cross-platform promotion for the live PBC cards with Showtime Championship Boxing events.

The first of the cards on Saturday April 4 at 3 p.m. will mark the return of the sweet science to Black Rock’s air since 2012, as the PBC pact serves as CBS’s first boxing series in 15 years.

The agreement with CBS and Showtime follows promoter Al Haymon deals for PBC action with NBC Sports Group, beginning on March 7, that calls for regularly scheduled primetime bouts on the Peacock and national cable network, NBCSN, and with monthly cards and support programming on Spike TV.

Speaking of support, each live boxing event on CBS and Showtime will be flanked with short- and long-form shoulder programming that will air across multiple platforms, notably CBS, Showtime and CBS Sports Network.  In addition, a significant marketing budget will be dedicated to touting the live CBS broadcasts and each major Showtime telecast with targeted advertising campaigns.

“The Premier Boxing Champions series on CBS will help usher in a new era in the storied history of boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.  “With the support of our parent company, we are uniquely positioned for a three-tiered approach that includes live boxing broadcasts on America’s No. 1 network, the cable reach of CBS Sports Network and, of course, the premium television leader in boxing, Showtime. The benefit of elevating the sport across these platforms for all involved, including Showtime is immeasurable.”

The April 4 card on CBS is headlined lby ight heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson defending his WBC title against former super middleweight champ Sakio Bika. The second on May 9 at 4:30 p.m. matches undefeated Omar Figueroa, who recently vacated his lightweight world championship to move up in weight to 140 pounds, against former champion Ricky Burns. 

Those bouts, along with the Showtime Boxing Championship card on April 18, showcasing the network debut of Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., are designed to serve as key promotional vehicles for the fifth of Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s pay-per-view fights for Showtime on May 2. Whether the “Money” match will come against Manny Pacquiao -- in what would likely be the biggest PPV boxing match in history -- remains to be seen as the pugilists have yet to sign contracts.

Mayweather, interviewed by Turner Sports during its Feb. 15 coverage of the NBA All-Star Game from Madison Square Garden, maintained that he hopes the fight with Pacquiao will be made.

Additional confirmed dates for PBC matches on CBS include live broadcasts are in June, July and September, with up to three remaining events on the 2015 calendar yet to be announced. Save for the premiere, the live boxing broadcasts on CBS will be broadcast live in the 4:30 p.m. (ET)/1:30 p.m. (PT).

The following are the networks’ descriptions of the upcoming events:  

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

On Saturday, March 28, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will present a doubleheader featuring a featherweight showdown between WBC champion Jhonny Gonzalez and top contender Gary Russell Jr., and a matchup of 154-pound contenders Jermell Charlo and Vanes Martirosyan.  The live SHOWTIME telecast will preview the following week’s April 4 CBS debut of Premier Boxing Champions. 

PREMIERE BOXING CHAMPIONS ON CBS

The CBS premiere on Saturday, April 4 (3 p.m. ET/Noon PT) will feature light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson defending his WBC title against former super middleweight champ Sakio Bika.  In the co-feature, undefeated light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev will face veteran former world champ Gabriel Campillo.  The CBS broadcast, with its national reach of more than 110 million households, will offer a broad platform to promote a major SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event just two weeks later. 

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

On Saturday, April 18, SHOWTIME presents the network debut of former world champion and Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., as he takes on light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara. 

PREMIERE BOXING CHAMPIONS ON CBS

On Saturday, May 9 Premier Boxing Champions returns to CBS for the second installment (4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT).  This broadcast will pit undefeated Omar Figueroa, who recently vacated his Lightweight World Championship to move up in weight to 140 pounds, against former champion Ricky Burns.