Tonight, professional boxing returns to prime time network television for the first time in several years on NBC via Al Haymon's Premiere Boxing Champions series. The series is technically not a promotion, and this fact is important, as it keeps Haymon from violating the Ali Act. The PBC official website offers this statement for clarification:
"The PBC Series is created for television by Haymon Boxing. Bouts featured within the PBC Series will be promoted by various licensed promoters, with each bout in accordance with applicable regulatory rules and regulations."
This weekend's card is being handled by Goossen Promotions working with PBC. This way, Haymon is only filling a managerial role with the boxers that come from his stable.
Al is being viewed in a much larger role, this one as boxing's savior. With the PPV climate struggling, his plan is to move away from PPV and premium cable channels entirely, and create a whole new, "over-the-top network." PBC's announced future fight line-ups would indicate that he's delivering on his promises.
Tonight's NBC card features a pair of high quality fights, with Robert Guerrero vs. Keith Thurman in the main event and Adrien Broner vs. John Molina Jr. in the co-main. In a recent interview with Bloody Elbow, Broner spoke about a variety of topics, including "toning down" his often outrageous personality for network television...but not too much.
"It feels great. This will be a first for me, fighting on NBC, but if Adrien Broner is on a card, I shouldn't be anything else but the main event. I'm going to put on a show. Of course I'll have to dial it down. On Showtime and HBO, everything was uncensored, but with NBC, more kids will have access to see me, so I have to take it down just a little. But, I've got to stay myself. I can't change too much, because then I wouldn't be myself."
Belief in oneself is a powerful tool to take into a fight, and that's something Adrien has in spades. A welcome departure from his past, pre-fight trash talking, and possibly a glimpse at his newfound desire to be a role model, he gave Molina some respect while still maintaining his confidence.
"Every fight is a hard fight no matter how easy a person makes it look. Molina is definitely a tough opponent. I just feel like I'm on a different level."
Adrien has had some issues in the past making weight, and says he's unsure of what weight would best suit him for the long term, defaulting to ‘only time will tell' as his answer for a question that may require a little more thought and planning than just letting the chips (in this case, pounds) fall where they may.
"You never know. Only time will tell. I still have a lot of years left in the sport, so we're just taking it one day at a time."
Broner's outstanding record has one blemish on it to date, and that came at the hands of Marcos Maidana. He has been very vocal about his desire for a rematch, a tune that hasn't changed much, even in the buildup to his fight with Molina.
"Of course I want to fight Maidana. I would like to fight him on March 7th, but the cookie didn't crumble that way, so I've got to take what I got."
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao finally getting an official booking, it's very likely that it will break PPV records. When asked his thoughts on the match-up, the 25 year-old lightning rod stated that he feels it will be the end of an era in boxing.
"It's a great fight for the sport. It ends out an era of boxing. After they fight, that's the end of that era of boxing. March 7th will start a brand new era of boxing.
That fight will sell itself. Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter and then you've got Money Mayweather, another elite fighter who's done a lot for the sport. After all these years, they're finally facing each other. It's gonna be a great fight, and I think Floyd Mayweather will pull out the win."
On a final note, I asked Adrien what made him happiest currently with boxing, and conversely, what bothered him most about it. Here's what he had to say:
"This is almost like the rebirth of boxing. Boxing had been doing good on Showtime and HBO, but it's nothing like 133 million viewers being able to see you fight. Who knows what this series can bring for boxing. I think business is going to be huge.
Nothing at all bugs me with the sport. I'm okay. I'm happy with what boxing has provided for me and for other boxers. I have a chance to exploit my talent on national television, worldwide television, and it's going to open a lot more doors for me."
Check out more of our features on this momentous boxing event right HERE