By Jake Donovan
Talks have intensified of a pending welterweight showdown between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, a mouthwatering clash that has been in development for weeks but still not quite yet finalized.
A working date of December 12 is in place, but several matters still need to be worked out before the deal can be announced as final - such as location and network. The fight will definitely air as part of the Premier Boxing Champion (PBC) series; the likely scenario is for the fight to headline on free-to-air NBC in primetime, although there exists an outside possibility of running on ESPN immediately following network coverage of the college football Heisman Award presentation earlier that evening.
American cable giant Showtime has been mentioned by some news outlets, but is distant in the running given its recently released schedule of seven shows over an eight-week stretch. While PBC fighters appear on Showtime (such as Adrien Broner and Jose Pedraza in last weekend's doubleheader from Cincinnati), the network's telecasts do not fall under the traditional PBC model, but rather its own branding and production.
Neither side of the A-plus matchup wished to confirm on or off the record where negotiations currently stand. A neutral location will likely house the fight, such as the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Local promotional outfit Leija-Battah Promotions - one of several companies used by PBC founder Al Haymon - has a hold on the venue for that date. The building's primary occupant, NBA franchise San Antonio Spurs plays on the road that evening versus the Atlanta Hawks.
Las Vegas and Brooklyn - two popular locations for PBC events - are all but ruled out.
The December 5 edition of Showtime Championship Boxing airs live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with Daniel Jacobs facing Peter Quillin in a middleweight bout with plenty of local flavor.
While there are plenty of venues from which to choose in Las Vegas, it would make little to no sense to perform in town on the same night as UFC 194, headlined by Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Both Thurman and Porter have fought twice in 2015, with all perofmances coming under the PBC umbrella.
Thurman (26-0, 22KOs) enjoyed the distinction of headlining - and winning in - the inaugural edition of PBC on both NBC and ESPN. His 12-round win over Robert Guerrero in March topped the first-ever PBC card, airing live in primetime on NBC. The event averaged more than 3 million viewers, peaking at 4 million viewers for the most watched televised card of the year.
His follow-up performance wasn't quite as polished in the ring or in network ratings. A July homecoming versus Luis Collazo in Tampa saw Thurman overcome a rough fifth round to eventually stop the former welterweight champ after seven rounds in the first installment of PBC on ESPN.
Porter (26-1-1, 16KOs) has enjoyed a huge bounceback campaign in 2015 following the lone loss of his career last August. The compact welterweight served as the televised opener in the first edition of PBC on Spike, knocking out late replacement Erick Bone in five rounds this past March.
The win paved the way for his biggest victory to date, scoring a 12-round decision over Broner in June, the bout airing live in primetime on NBC.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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