By Jake Donovan
Stateside boxing fans can now plan their entire Saturday around televised event coverage without having to worry about the manner in which out-of-market fights are occasionally viewed.
Hours prior to the HBO Pay-Per-View headliner in Las Vegas between World middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, AWE (A Wealth of Entertainment) will air a split site doubleheader featuring title fight action in England and Germany.
The network was already planning to provide coverage of the lightweight title fight rematch between Darleys Perez and Anthony Crolla, which will be presented live from Manchester, England.
Also now airing for the viewing pleasure of stateside fans is Arthur Abraham's latest super middleweight title defense versus England's Martin Murray. The bout - which comes live from Hannover, Germany - was added to the broadcast on Monday.
"I am pleased to be able to bring this fight to the American boxing fans," said Charles Herring, President of AWE in a brief statement.
Abraham (43-4, 29KOs) attempts the fifth defense of his second tour as super middleweight titlist. The Germany-based Armenian boxer is coming off of 6th round knockout of longtime rival Robert Stieglitz in July to go up 3-1 in their four fight series. Both of Abraham's title reigns began with wins over Stieglitz, his first win in the series coming via narrow decision in their Aug. '12 clash.
Stieglitz returned the favor with a 4th round injury stoppage to regain the title in their March '13 rematch, only to concede the crown in their rubber match one year later.
Overall, Abraham comes in riding a seven-fight win streak.
Murray (32-2-1, 15KOs) has won three straight following his latest failed bid at a middleweight title, when he was stopped in 11 rounds by unbeaten knockout artist and pound-for-pound entrant Gennady Golovkin. All three of Murray's career blemishes have come in bids to claim a middleweight belt, as he was held to a controversial 12-round draw with Felix Sturm in their Dec. '11 clash and suffered a controversial points loss to Sergio Martinez on the road in their April '13 World championship clash in Argentina.
Saturday marks just the second career trip for the well-traveled Murray to Germany, the only other occasion being his aforementioned bout with Sturm. His current three fight win streak has taken place at (or above) super middleweight and exclusively in his native England.
One of the three wins came this past July in Manchester, on the same show that played host to the disputed 12-round draw between Perez and Crolla.
Perez (32-1-1, 20KOs) had just received an upgrade from interim to full lightweight titlist, but nearly conceded the crown to a comebacking Crolla. Low-blow point deductions in each of the championship rounds turned what would have been a split decision win into a majority draw, although the majority of the viewing public considered Perez fortunate to escape with his title still intact.
The bout was the first in the United Kingdom for Perez, a 32-year old from Colombia whose entire career has taken place in The Americas. His lone loss came in June '13, dropping a 12-round decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa. He is 4-0-1 since that night, including wins over Argenis Lopez, Jaider Parra and Jonathan Maicelo.
Crolla (29-4-3, 11KOs) delivered one of the finest performances of his career in his first fight with Perez, an emotional event considering there was a point where it was doubtful he would ever fight again. The veteran lightweight contender - who celebrates his 29th birthday on Monday - was hospitalized last December after an attempt to fend off burglars left him with severe head trauma.
The prideful Mancunian fought the good fight, recovering from the wounds and enjoying a triumphant ring return in front of a hometown crowd. Everything went right for Crolla up until the final scores were announced, although he remains unbeaten in his last eight starts (5-0-3 over that stretch).
The telecast will begin live at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT. The aformentioned title fights are the only bouts budgeted for the show, although each title fight tops loaded fight bills at separate venues.
Boxing fans can enjoy the split-site doubleheader on AWE available on AT&T U-Verse (Channel 147 and 1147 in HD), Verizon FiOS TV (Channel 169 and 669 in HD) and numerous regional cable providers across the nation.
Please check www.awetv.com for boxing updates.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox