By Jake Donovan
Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter both served as televised openers for the inaugural installments of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC and Spike TV, respectively. They will now appear across the ring from one another, as their previously rumored clash is now officially set for June 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The crossroads bout between former titlists from Ohio will air live in primetime on free-to-air NBC. In supporting televised action, rising unbeaten prospect Errol Spence faces veteran Roberto Garcia.
Of the four televised fighters, Spence (16-0, 13KOs) is the only one to not yet appear in primetime on a PBC event. The 2012 U.S. Olympian fought on the non-televised undercard of the April 11 PBC on NBC show, stopping Samuel Vargas in four rounds at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Garcia (37-3, 23KOs) made his PBC debut in April. The veteran boxer rose from an opening round knockdown to outpoint James Stevenson over eight rounds in the opening leg of a Spike TV-televised tripleheader in Chicago, Illinois.
Broner (30-1, 22KOs) was the very first fighter to post a win in the PBC series, putting on a boxing clinic in outpointing John Molina Jr. over 12 rounds in their NBC-televised bout this past March, also at the MGM Grand. The former three-division champ is a sizeable TV draw, though stuck in somewhat of a holding pattern in regards to competing at the very top level.
With that comes a catchweight bout with Porter (25-1-1, 16KOs), a former welterweight titlist in search of another run at a title, or competing against championship-level opposition.
(Writer’s note: An official weight has yet to be announced, although Broner competes at 140 lbs., while Porter is a career welterweight—JD)
Porter made his PBC debut on March 13, scoring a 5th round knockout of Erick Bone—a late replacement for Garcia, who suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. The bout served as the first fight of PBC’s run on Spike TV, and combined with the main event—Andre Berto’s stoppage win over Josesito Lopez—helped deliver the network the highest rated Friday night boxing event on any network since 2007.
The win was Porter’s first since conceding his version of the welterweight title to Kell Brook last summer.
Broner has previously served as a titlist at 130, 135 and 147 lbs., having won three straight since the lone loss of his career, which came at the hands of Marcos Maidana in Dec. ’13.
Early whispers of such a fight had it taking place in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati, which—geographically—would have made since. Broner is a considerable draw in his corner of the world, and the growing rivarly would’ve been enhanced by Porter’s roots in Akron, Ohio.
Nevertheless, it’s a fight that both openly welcome. For Porter—who trains out of Las Vegas these days—it’s practically a home game and an opportunity for which he has long craved.
“[F]acing Adrien is definitely going to be a challenge, but I’ve watched his career, even in the amateurs, and I know he can be beat,” Porter said in a press statement. “We moved to Las Vegas for opportunities like this, and I would love to make the MGM Grand my home.”
Porter’s lone other career appearance at the MGM Grand came during fight week for Floyd Mayweather’s World junior middleweight championship win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Two nights prior, Porter soundly outpointed Juiio Diaz over 10 rounds, a bout coming nine months after the two fought to a draw.
Broner will be performing at the MGM Grand for the third time in the span of four fights. Along with his win over Molina, the 25-year old scored a 10-round decision over Carlos Molina (no relation to John Jr.) on the undercard of Mayweather’s first win over Maidana.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox