Showtime rolls out strong slate of fights

Showtime Network


Contrary to popular belief, Showtime is still firmly in the boxing business. In the past year or so, since the advent of the Premier Boxing Champions, they had seemingly taken a back seat to NBC, CBS, FOX and ESPN in the Al Haymon pecking order. Perhaps the recent (mis) fortunes of the PBC (with the Waddell & Reed well drying up) have created the need for Haymon to find safe shelter in the form of Showtime license fees for the time being.


There was a time not too long ago when Showtime had pulled even in terms of ratings to archrivals HBO. However, in the last year or so, it has slipped into a distant second place. Recently its broadcast featuring Leo Santa Cruz from the Honda Center did less than 300,000 viewers on Feb. 27. It’s clear that, despite these boxers performing on larger platforms over the past year, that didn’t translate into larger audiences on Showtime for whatever reason.


Can the upcoming slate of fights reverse their fortunes?


Here’s a look at their upcoming schedule (as taken from a press release):




Main Event: Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) vs. Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) – IBF Heavyweight World Title Championship


Co-feature: Lee Selby (22-1, 8 KOs) vs. Eric Hunter (21-3, 11 KOs) – IBF Featherweight Championship


Start Time: TBD


Venue: The O2 – London


Promoter: Warriors Boxing & Matchroom Sport



Friday, April 15 – ShoBox: The New Generation


Main Event: Nikolay Potapov (14-0, 6 KOs) vs. Stephon Young (14-0-2, 6 KOs) – 10-Rd Bantamweight Bout


Start Time: 10 p.m. ET/PT


Venue: Turning Stone Casino – Verona, NY


Promoter: Salita Promotions


Four-fight telecast featuring at least six undefeated fighters.




Main Event: Gary Russell Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs) vs. Patrick Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs) – WBC Featherweight World Championship


Co-Feature: Jose Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs) vs. Stephen Smith (23-1, 13 KOs) – IBF Super Featherweight World Championship


Start Time: 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT


Venue: Fox Theatre at Foxwoods Resort Casino


Promoter: DiBella Entertainment



Featherweight world title fights in consecutive weeks. 


Gary Russell Jr. returns to make his first title defense


Crucial Super Featherweight bout between defending champ Jose Pedraza and No. 1 challenger Stephen Smith.





Main Event: Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) vs. Lucian Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) – WBC Super Middleweight Championship


Co-Feature: James DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) vs. Rogelio Medina (35-6, 29 KOs) – IBF Super Middleweight World Championship


Start Time: 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT


Venue: TBD


Promoter: Mayweather Promotions


Former champ Bute, fresh off a great fight against DeGale, steps in to replace the injured Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 


Medina is the IBF’s mandated challenger for DeGale.


The winners will meet in an immediate unification.




Main Event: Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) vs. Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) – WBC Heavyweight World Championship


Start Time: TBD


Venue: TBD





Main Event: Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) vs. John Molina Jr. (28-6, 23 KOs) – 12-Rd Super Lightweight Bout


Start Time: 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT


Venue: Turning Stone Casino – Verona, NY


Promoter: Banner Promotions


Induction Weekend for International Boxing Hall of Fame.


Main event features two fighters involved in Fights of Year



Saturday, June 25 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS Presented by PBC


Main Event: Keith Thurman (26-0, 1 ND, 22 KOs) vs. Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) – WBA Welterweight World Championship


Co-Feature: Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) – WBA (reg.) Featherweight World Championship


Start Time: TBD


Venue: TBD


Promoter: DiBella Entertainment


Thurman cleared to resume training after minor injury


Three-division world champ Mares to now face Jesus Cuellar for featherweight title





Main Event: Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) vs. Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) – WBA (super) Featherweight World Championship


Frampton the unified 122-pound titlist, will move up to face Santa Cruz for the WBA (super) Featherweight World Championship


Yeah, you can debate the merits of certain shows but overall, I like this line-up. The two heavyweight title fights are strong additions and keep us American’s from having to stream…uh, I mean, “listen on the radio” and deal with those darn-tootin’ pop-up ads. Say what you will; heavyweight title fights are still very important and there is new life in the division. There’s a very strong likelihood that we could see a pair of new heavyweight beltholders.


What’s interesting is that Ruslan Provodnikov has gone to the other side of the street and taken his services to Showtime. Honestly, I think he’s getting a bit of a lay-up in John Molina (who hasn’t been the same, post-Lucas Matthysse) but the “Siberian Rocky” has always made for good television regardless of with whom he’s been paired and the real question in this new deal is: Can he actually get some of the Al Haymon-advised fighters, such as Danny Garcia and Adrien Broner in the ring? Provodnikov has been a consistent ratings grabber for HBO. It’s curious that HBO didn’t make him more of a priority.


The long-awaited (and then some) bout between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter is scheduled for June 25 and Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton is another match-up that will be highly anticipated by the fans.


Yeah, it’s not on Showtime and it won’t be…ahem…FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


But it will be good.


This is like 2013 all over again.





April is a stacked month for the sport. You have Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao III and the 2016 debut of Gennady Golovkin and the PBC is especially busy during this stretch.


There are two weekends (April 16 and the 30th) in which they have cards on two networks that will lead into one another. Errol Spence Jr. faces Chris Algieri on NBC from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and then Showtime will air a card featuring Gary Russell Jr.-Patrick Hyland. Then on the 30th, Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto engage in a rematch that will be on FOX, according to Jake Donovan of and, on Showtime, WBC super middleweight titlist Badou Jack faces Lucian Bute as the headliner.


Yeah, that’s a lot of boxing.





Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly.





Here’s the latest episode of “The 3 Knockdown Rule” with Mario Lopez and me.


You can also listen to it here


…or download here.




Yeah, this weekend’s schedule went through some major changes. The fight between David Lemieux and James De La Rosa got axed as Lemieux missed weight but FOX Deportes and will proceed with the undercard…And the CBS Sports Network card at the D Hotel in Las Vegas was nixed as the NSAC has suspended Zab Judah and promoter Roy Englebrecht for falsifying documents. It really rained here in Los Angeles on Friday. Honestly, I don’t mind one bit. Speaking of which, that last episode of “Vice” on HBO has me doing rain dances on the regular…Currently reading “Blood Brothers” by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith on the relationship between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X…Next week, will be releasing segments of the interview I did recently with Larry Merchant…I can be reached at and I tweet (a lot) at I also share photos of stuff at and can also be found at



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