By Jake Donovan
Fittingly in alignment with Showtime announcing its loaded spring schedule, more dates have begun to seep out from the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) side. The latest reveals the second installment of PBC on free-to-air Fox, topped by a rematch between former welterweight titlists Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz on April 30 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
News of the primetime telecast was passed along by PBC sources to BoxingScene.com, confirming an earlier tweet from The Ring’s Mitch Abramson first revealing the location and network.
The telecast will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET, an earlier-than-normal start time for a West Coast boxing event, but necessary as to not interfere with another major show that evening. Immediately following the Fox primetime event, Showtime will present a super middleweight title fight doubleheader at a location to be determined, as previously reported by BoxingScene.com.
The Showtime portion of the evening – whose telecast is due to begin at 10:00 p.m. ET – features Badou Jack and James DeGale each in the second defense of their respective super middleweight titles.
Jack will face former champ Lucian Bute, who replaces an injured Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., while DeGale defends versus Rogelio Medina, who replaces an injured Jose Uzcategui. A stipulation in place for the show calls for the winners to meet later in the year – on Showtime – in a super middleweight title unification clash.
At present moment, little more than bragging rights are at stake between Berto and Ortiz. Their upcoming welterweight clash is a rematch to their April ’11 thriller, in which both fighters were dropped twice before Ortiz (31-5-2, 24KOs) prevailed by unanimous decision in their hellacious war to claim a welterweight belt.
His reign was short-lived, suffering a 4th round knockout at the hands of Floyd Mayweather later that September. The ending sparked considerable debate, as Ortiz – after being disciplined for an intentional headbutt – attempted to overcompensate for the foul by offering to repeatedly touch gloves. Mayweather obliged one time, but took advantage of the second act by landing a two-punch combo to put him down and out in their Pay-Per-View headliner.
The setback kicked off a stretch of three straight losses for Ortiz, suffering stoppage defeats at the hands of Josesito Lopez and Luis Collazo. The 29-year old California-based southpaw has since rebounded with a pair of knockout wins, including an 8th round stoppage of late replacement Gilberto Sanchez-Leon last December in San Antonio.
Berto (30-4, 23KOs) has struggled to reclaim past form following an impressive amateur run capped by a spot on the 2004 Haiti Olympic boxing team, along with a welterweight title reign lasting nearly three years. The 32-year old Floridian is 3-3 in his last six starts, although hitting the lottery in landing a plush assignment as the final opponent of Mayweather’s historic career. It came in the form of a one-sided loss to the unbeaten, all-time great last September in Las Vegas.
Prior to the loss, Berto headlined the first installment of PBC on Spike, rallying to knockout out Josesito Lopez in six rounds last March. There were talks of the thickly-muscled ex-welterweight champ returning to Spike, although such talks died down once he passed on a proposed welterweight title eliminator with former 140 lb. titlist Lamont Peterson.
As this goes to publish, there has not been confirmation of any title (or eliminator status) at stake for Berto-Ortiz II or any such talks of a supporting undercard. What has been confirmed is that the card will work in conjunction with the already scheduled Showtime event later that evening, with the two telecasts running one after the other without any in-ring overlap.
The sequence comes on the heels of similar plans mapped out for April 16, which will host the first PBC on NBC telecast of 2016 followed by a Showtime doubleheader.
Another welterweight battle tops the NBC card, with unbeaten 2012 U.S. Olympian and rising contender Errol Spence facing former 140 lb. titlist Chris Algieri at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Also on the show: unbeaten Krzysztof Glowacki makes the first defense of his cruiserweight title versus former champ Steve Cunnignham; and Spence’s Olympic teammate Marcus Browne faces Radivoje Kalajdzic in a battle of unbeaten light heavyweights.
Once the NBC card goes off air, viewers will be encouraged to flip over to Showtime, which will present a doubleheader live from Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Topping the bill, Gary Russell Jr. faces Patrick Hyland in the first defense of his featherweight title. In the co-feature, unbeaten Jose Pedraza defends his super featherweight belt versus mandatory contender, England’s Stephen Smith.
In addition to Showtime’s loaded spring, the forthcoming announcement of Berto-Ortiz II will give the PBC three major primetime telecasts in April.
The month will begin with the first PBC on Spike card of 2016, as Adrien Broner faces Ashley Theophane in a super lightweight title fight. The show also features Broner’s stablemate, unbeaten budding lightweight prospect Robert Easter Jr. stepping up in class versus former 130 lb. titlist Algenis Mendez.
The April 30 edition of PBC on Fox is the second of at least three budgeted time slots for the network. Another welterweight matchup helped launch the network series, with Danny Garcia outpointing former champ Robert Guerrero over 12 spirited rounds this past January. There exists one more date targeted for the summer, with the potential to add more, in addition to no fewer than one-dozen scheduled telecasts on affiliate regional cable outlet Fox Sports 1.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox