Boxing is back. In a return to the days when marquee bouts featuring prominent fighters were available to the masses, NBC Sports Group today announced the launch of the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series, with 20 live bouts airing in 2015.

Premier Boxing Champions on NBC

The Premier Boxing Champions series launches on NBC March 7.

The PBC series, created for TV by Haymon Boxing, will feature great matchups on both NBC and NBC Sports Network.

The first PBC on NBC card, scheduled for March 7 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, will feature a clash between 147-pound title contenders Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero, and a showdown between 140-pound contenders Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr.

The second card, on April 11, will highlight a bout between 140-pound title hopefuls Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson.

The 20 live PBC on NBC events this year will consist of five Saturday prime-time shows on NBC, six Saturday afternoon shows on NBC and nine Saturday prime-time shows on NBCSN.

The host of PBC on NBC will be seven-time Emmy Award winner Al Michaels, who called the classic championship bout between “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns 30 years ago this April.

Additional on-air personalities for PBC on NBC will be announced in the coming weeks, along with future show dates and times.

Within the 20 live shows, NBC Sports Group will present more than 50 hours of PBC coverage, including NBCSN pre- and post-fight programming for NBC telecasts. “We are looking forward to presenting PBC on NBC to develop a new and exciting platform which will be embraced by the millions of boxing fans across the country,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC and NBCSN.

The Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC kicks off with what is shaping up to be a bruising affair between two 140-pound warriors.

Power-packed contenders Adrien “The Problem” Broner and John “The Gladiator” Molina Jr. will meet in the ring on March 7 as the co-main event for the first Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card on NBC.

The fight, at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, will be televised at 9 p.m. ET as the first of 20 live broadcasts on NBC and NBC Sports Network in 2015.

Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) has earned world titles in three weight classes, and is now pursuing another at 140 pounds. The Cincinnati native has defeated former world champions such as Antonio DeMarco and Paulie Malignaggi, with his only loss coming in a 147-pound title fight against Marcos Maidana in December 2013.

In his last fight, Broner won a 12-round unanimous decision over Emmanuel Taylor in Cincinnati on September 6, 2014, to secure a vacant 140-pound belt.

Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KOs) has competed for a world title at 135 pounds, losing by technical knockout to DeMarco in September 2012.

The Covina, California, native’s résumé includes notable wins over previously unbeaten prospects Henry Lundy and Mickey Bey. Molina Jr. was defeated in his last fight, dropping a 10-round unanimous decision to Humberto Soto in Las Vegas on September 13, 2014.

The other co-headlining fight on the inaugural PBC on NBC card is a clash between 147-pound title contenders Keith “One Time” Thurman (24-0) and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (32-2-1).

Adrien Broner, John Molina Jr.

The co-main event for the first PBC on NBC fight should be a lively and hard-hitting affair

The popular crossfit system is transforming the way one fighter is preparing for his next fight.

Coming off of the biggest fight of his career and only the second setback he had ever suffered, many questions lingered on what exactly, if anything, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero could have done differently in his May 2013 showdown with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.  

“I went out there and gave it 100 percent, but when I stepped back and thought about it, there was more I could have done in the gym,” Guerrero said. “I always take a loss like even the best lose, but it’s how you come back after a loss that really counts. I knew I could have worked on some different things.”  

A good buddy of Guerrero’s, Dave Castro, just happened to be the Director of Training for Reebok CrossFit and suggested that Guerrero should think about changing up his training.  

“I was real skeptical about it with the weights and stuff,” Guerrero said. “My whole point of view was that I can’t get bulked up and get all yoked up and big and buff, because you get tight and slower. You need to be flexible, fast, slip punches, and be able to fire off any angle you can shoot off of. But I thought about it and said ‘I’m gonna give it a try.’ If it works, it works. If doesn’t, I’ll throw it out.”  

Guerrero teamed up with CrossFit coach Brian Chontosh—a U.S. Marine who was a recipient of the Navy Cross for his heroics in Iraq in 2003—in preparation for his June 2014 fight against Yoshihiro Kamegai.  

Chontosh offered a harsh assessment of Guerrero’s physique, but the two quickly went to work changing up his body.  

The hard work paid off when Guerrero survived a war with Kamegai and pulled out a unanimous decision victory in Carson, Calif. in what many boxing insiders considered one of the top fights of 2014.  

“Well it worked,” Guerrero said of his newly incorporated training and lifestyle change. “I think I’m gonna stick with it.”

Robert Guerrero now believes crossfit has him in the best shape of his career.

He's tough, he's confident and he's one of the best fighters in the world. Yet Keith "One Time" Thurman has a soft spot for his pets.

Keith Thurman is known for both his bark and bite in the ring.

What people might not know about the fighter is that while he is one of boxing’s big dogs, when he comes home after training it’s his two Chihuahuas that keep the interim 147-pound champ in check.

“I’m the big dog in the house so I don’t have to actually have big dogs,” said a laughing Thurman of his two Chihuahuas (Liberty and Nova).  

Thurman, who adopted the three-year-old male Nova to be a companion for the older female, Liberty in the last year, takes all the jokes about owning Chihuahuas in stride.  

“People who really know me like to joke about it, and I wasn’t expecting to own Chihuahuas, but they’ve definitely grown on me.”  

Thurman recently added to his stable of pets when a sparring partner gave Thurman an American Bulldog for Christmas. Thurman named him “Lil Champion” in honor of his longtime trainer Ben Getty’s Bulldog that was named “Champ.”  

“Lil Champ likes to nip at the other two and they don’t like it. We’ll just have to see what happens with all these guys.”

My new family member

A photo posted by Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithonetimethurman) on

Molina Jr., who entertained in 2014 with two bruising and action-packed fights, is looking forward to getting back in the ring.

John Molina Jr.

After two knock-down, drag out brawls in 2014, John Molina Jr. gets a matchup with Adrien Broner as part of the Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC on March 7.

For John Molina Jr., 2014 was an eventful year for so many reasons.

The scrappy, gritty and gifted fighter battled Lucas Matthysse in April and Humberto Soto in September. Both fights were brawls that entertained and delighted the boxing faithful.

In fact, many fight fans and experts called Molina Jr.'s "street fight" epic battle with Matthysse "the fight of the year." A fight which saw Molina Jr. battle Matthysse to the very end.

With Molina moving up to the 140-pound division for the Matthysse fight, he feels he's proved much in his bruising fight with the Argentinian. 

“Mattyse was looked at this monster in the division and I was this newcomer coming into the division,” Molina told the Los Angeles Daily News. “Although I’ve been in the boxing game for a while, my name has barely reached the accolades of such fighters as Matthyse. What I was able to take away from that fight is that I am one of the strongest guys at 140 pounds. He fought a hell of a fight and won because he was more experienced than me.”

With his inclusion in the first card of the Premier Boxing Champions series on NBC in March, Molina has an opportunity to make a signficant statement early by beating Adrien "The Problem" Broner.

Despite the busy schedule of a championship professional fighter, Keith "One Time" Thurman gives back to the gym where it all started for him.

There’s no shortage of photos hanging on the walls inside St. Pete’s Boxing Club, showing a very young Keith Thurman with his hands raised in the air after one of his 101 victories from a standout amateur career.

There’s a newspaper clipping nearby that tells how Thurman got his start in boxing, when he saw his longtime trainer Ben Getty hold a boxing demonstration when he was in grade school—and how from that first day Thurman knew his life’s calling was inside the ring.

Now, as an in-demand professional fighter, Thurman never strays too far from where it all started. He also believes in giving back by mentoring and training amateurs just as Getty did with him. It helps Thurman stay close to his roots and in touch with the amateur scene.

“I just really enjoy working with all of the young guys, it reminds me of when I was their age and I know what the sport meant for me at that time,” said Thurman—who just a week after his last fight, a unanimous decision victory over Leonard Bundu on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas, was already back in the gym offering tutelage to a couple of St. Pete’s top up-and-comers. “Some of these guys have the skills to be really good. I just try to help them out when I can.”

And in turn the young guns keep Thurman fresh and offer him a daily reminder that no matter the belts and accomplishments he’s already achieved in boxing, the true joy of the sport that he fell in love with comes via the day-to-day grind of getting better.  

This past November, Thurman traveled to the Florida State PAL Championships in Fort Pierce, FL to cheer on St. Pete’s amateurs. The club had a strong showing, but Thurman stole the show as kids from across the state mobbed him for photographs and autographs.  

“Those tourneys always put a smile on my face,” said Thurman, who as amateur took home six national championships, including the 2006 PAL championship. “They always make me remember my roots.”

See if you can find me in this Team Florida photo from way, way back in the day! #TBT #TeamThurman #StPeteBoxingGym

A photo posted by Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithonetimethurman) on

A very young Keith Thurman struts his stuff as an amateur.

He's a bruiser in the ring, but outside of it Lamont Peterson relishes his role as a dad.

Lamont Peterson is a beast inside the ring, but when it comes to his little girl, he is all hugs, smiles, and affection. 

Here's some great examples of how the proud father dotes on his daughter.

Teaching the young one a lil game!

A photo posted by Lamont Peterson (@kingpete29) on

And she is out!

A photo posted by Lamont Peterson (@kingpete29) on

When you're a fighter training for the next big bout, your diet is restricted. That doesn't mean fighters don't indulge here or there.

In Philadelphia, Danny Garcia is surrounded by some of the best cuisine in the world. 

When one of the best fighters in the world is looking to snack on an off-day out of the gym, his go-to treat is a hot Philly cheesesteak from Pat’s King of Steaks.

Smiliar to it’s competitive counter-part Geno’s right across the street, Pat’s boasts the “original” Philly cheesesteak, to which Danny agrees.

"There’s a lot of Philly cheesesteak places in the city that claim they’re the best or the first," Garcia says. "But despite them all, I’ve been coming to Pat’s since I could remember – no reason to change it up.”

What does Danny order when he hits up Pat's? 

The original cheesesteak with peppers.

RIP to that steak

A photo posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

Keith "One Time" Thurman shares with fans which KO's he thinks are his best and why.

With 21 knockouts in 24 fights, Keith Thurman has no shortage of highlight-reel stoppages.  

While fans of the 26-year-old Florida native who goes by the nickname “One Time,” might have trouble picking their favorite KO, Thurman has narrowed his shortlist to his top three.

1. Diego Chaves (10th round KO, :28)​​

“This is probably my favorite knockout, because he was previously unbeaten and a proven puncher,” Thurman said. “I knew the knockout was coming before he did, because I read him like a book and delivered a perfect punch.”

Thurman knocked out Chavez with a devastating punch.

2. Carlos Quintana (4th round TKO, 2:19)

“Outside of Paul Williams, nobody dismantled him like I did that night,” said Thurman, who claimed his first world title with the victory and retired Quintana from boxing on Nov. 24, 2012 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.

The punch (at 2:19) that sent Carlos Quintana into retirement.

3. Jesus Soto Karass (9th round TKO, 2:21)

“This is probably the KO that my fans like the most,” said Thurman. “Karass was a strong durable guy and not too many guys had stopped him. So too finish him the way I did, was exciting.”

Thurman's favorite knockout happens to be the same ones his fans like most.

Former World Champion fights to educate and call attention to water pollution in his own community.

It may seem like a joke with the slogan being so obvious: “Nothing but rain goes down the drain” popping up on billboards and bus stops around Gilroy, Calif. and nearby Morgan Hill, Calif.—but to Robert Guerrero knocking out storm pollution is no laughing matter. “It might seem kind of trivial, but storm water pollution in our area is a big deal. I wanted to lend my name to just send the message that everyone can help out in cleaning up pollution so that we can have quality drinking water in the Bay area,” Guerrero said.

With help from “The Ghost,” Guerrero’s hometown of Gilroy and Morgan Hill are launching a sixth-month campaign to inform citizens on how they can help clean up and prevent storm water pollution.

Pages

Subscribe to Premier Boxing Champions RSS