By Jake Donovan
The March 13 debut of Al Haymon’s newly formed boxing series on Spike TV finally has a home. The confirmed location for the show is Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Both legs of the inaugural episode pit former welterweight titlists against divisional spoilers.
Andre Berto faces Josesito Lopez in the evening’s main event, while the co-feature pits once-beaten Shawn Porter against Roberto Garcia.
The famed StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. was originally rumored as the site for the first boxing show on Spike TV. However, a better deal was to be found with the venue in Ontario.
Lopez and Berto have both played the venue in the past, with Lopez far more intimately involved with the region in general. The Californian has fought 11 times in Ontario—roughly 30 minutes from his hometown in Riverside. His last fight at the hosting arena was an Aug. ’10 ESPN2-televised win over Marvin Cordova on the undercard of stablemate and heavyweight contender Chris Arreola.
Berto’s lone fight at the arena was a Fight of the Year candidate, albeit in a losing effort as he dropped a 12-round decision to Robert Guerrero in their Nov. ’12 war. The bout landed in the middle of a stretch where he lost three of four fights. The former welterweight titlist has since rebounded with a 10-round win over Steve Upsher-Chambers last September, his first win in three years prior to that point.
The premiere episode will officially launch a monthly series on Spike TV, one of at least five networks confirmed to be on board with Haymon’s big plans for his stable of more than 150 fighters. The high-powered, low profile advisor announced his “PBC on NBC” series, which will cover NBC—on Saturdays in prime-time (five episodes, beginning March 7) and during the afternoon (six more episodes)—and NBC Sports Network.
Series are also in the works for BET (Black Entertainment Television) and CBS Sports Network, though details for series on those channels remain forthcoming.
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