By Jake Donovan
Every fighter has a story to tell. So should every fight show.
That was Kathy Duva’s vision in initially pitching the idea that is now known as NBC Sports Network Fight Night series. That vision now comes with a behind-the-scenes preview, as NBC Sports announced Wednesday its launching of the new pre-fight series “Fight Night 36.”
The all-access series will chronicle 36 hours in the life of the fighter of its upcoming main event, to be shown in a 30-minute special during fight week. The first subject of the series will be former three-time world champion Zab "Super" Judah, who headlines the March 24 card in his title elimination bout with unbeaten contender Vernon “Ice” Paris, live from the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn.
NBC Sports Network offers a similar format with the National Hockey League, which began last December. With the rave reviews that came with the inaugural edition of the Fight Night series in January, the decision to offer extended coverage was a no-brainer.
“Compelling, story-driven access is something we want to grow in the NBC Sports Network original space, said Ron Wechsler, Vice President of Original Programming and Development for NBC Sports Network. “Given the success we have seen with NHL 36, we are excited to extend the brand to boxing. With Zab Judah returning to his hometown of Brooklyn, we have an amazing hook for our first Fight Night 36 special."
‘Fight Night 36: Zab Judah’ premieres Wednesday, March 21 at 10:30PM ET on the NBC Sports Network. Reruns will air at the following times, all EST: Thursday, March 22 at 11:30PM; Friday, March 23 at 9:30AM and 7:30PM; and then fight night itself on Saturday, March 24 at 6:00PM and 9:30PM as the lead-in to the fight card, which airs at 10:00PM, to avoid conflict with coverage of the NCAA College Basketball tournament.
Though now based out of Las Vegas, Judah (41-7, 28KO) has always proudly represented his Brooklyn roots. The 34-year old has fought throughout the NY/NJ metro area over the course of his 16-year career though this will be the first time he gets the chance to fight in his home borough.
That NBC Sports has opened the door to bring even more boxing coverage to its airwaves has the series’ lead promoter elated, especially in an era when the sport becomes more and more of a tough sell amidst false rumors of it being a dying industry.
“This is a major breakthrough for the sport of boxing, in my opinion, and a great indication of NBC’s commitment to the sweet science,” said Duva. “They told us about their desire to do this last week and we turned it around in a few days. They are finishing up with the taping today at Zab’s camp in Vegas and this show premieres in a week. I am told that NBC plans to continue doing these.
“As you can probably tell, I am pretty excited about this!”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com .