By Jake Donovan
Following the success of last year’s revised formula, Telemundo’s long-running ‘Boxeo Telemundo’ series will stay the course 2014. Three separate seasons of four consecutive weekends comprise the 2014 season, which is set to kick off on March 14 in Kissimmee, Florida.
The series will rotate back and forth between central Florida and Mexico City, with each area scheduled to host six shows apiece. The full schedule for 2014 is as follows (all dates are Fridays):
March 14 - Kissimmee Civic Center, Kissimmee, Florida
March 21 - A La Carte Pavilion Tampa, Florida
March 28 - Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
April 4 - (Venue TBA), Mexico City, Mexico
July 18 - Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
July 25 - Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
August - 1 A La Carte Pavilion Tampa, Florida
August - 8 Kissimmee Civic Center, Kissimmee, Florida
October - 3 A La Carte Pavilion Tampa, Florida
October - 10 Kissimmee Civic Center, Kissimmee, Florida
October - 17 Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
October - 24 Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
Last year’s format was a break from the series’ history, which traditionally aired one Friday per month throughout the calendar year, though with exception. A decision was made to instead stagger the broadcasts, both to build momentum once on air and heighten anticipation upon its return.
The programming change proved to boast strength in numbers – figuratively and literally. The network came out on top last year in the ratings chase for boxing offered among all Spanish-speaking channels in the United States.
Furthermore, four of the 12 fighters who appeared in and won their Telemundo-televised main events went on to challenge for major titles. Sadly, none emerged victorious; Orlando Cruz, Jose Nieves, Ulises Lara and David Carmona all came up empty in separate title bids over the course of the year.
The series also featured the return of former 122 lb. titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., the second-generation star who cut his teeth on Telemundo before going on to capture a title. A return to his roots came on shaky ground, barely surviving a stiff challenge from previously unbeaten Guillermo Avila.
The season finale saw another title hopeful in Marvin Maibat (19-1, 13KO), who blitzed through series favorite Johnny Garcia in just 36 seconds on the road in Mexico. The win put the Filipino southpaw in the hunt for a potential future shot at unbeaten bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda.
Details are still being worked out for the first four shows, with the lineup for the March 15 season premiere to be revealed in the next week or so.
“All I can say is that it’s going to be huge, and a treat for our continued supporters,” hints Felix ‘Tuto’ Zabala, whose All Star Boxing Inc. serves as the primary content provider for the series. “Viewers responded in a big way to the programming change. We want to make sure to give them the best possible fights we can offer every time our show goes on the air.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox