Twenty-plus world champions and challengers took part in a large media event in NYC on Wednesday—announcing several stacked matchups that will take place over the first half of 2018.
NEW YORK – One by one, the champions and challengers walked confidently across the stage Wednesday — 21 of them in all.
From featherweights Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, to heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz, these Premier Boxing Champions fighters came to an enormous Manhattan restaurant from throughout the United States for one of the most unique assemblies in the sport’s history. They’re part of nine upcoming events on Showtime, which announced its schedule through June 16 as part of the premium-cable channel’s “2018 Boxing Upfront” event.
Mikey Garcia broke camp temporarily in Southern California for his March 10 fight against IBF junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets to attend. The WBC lightweight champion headed back home very impressed by what he experienced.
“This was actually pretty cool stuff,” Garcia said. “It was very different, had never been done like this. But see, that’s why we like working with Showtime, because they’re doing something new. They’re always looking at making it bigger.
“This whole lineup of fighters are the greatest fighters right now. We’re active, we’re fighting and Showtime’s got some great matchups coming up in the first half of this year. So this was a great opportunity to get everybody together, do the photos, do the promos. As you can tell, there was definitely a great turnout.”
Garcia’s fight, which was moved from February 10 to March 10 due to a hand injury suffered by Lipinets, had already been announced—as had two of the other nine broadcasts Showtime promoted Wednesday. Six of the telecasts on Showtime’s schedule hadn’t been revealed until Wednesday, though.
Former IBF super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis will fight an undetermined opponent on the Adrien Broner-Omar Figueroa undercard on April 21. He was inspired Wednesday as he stood surrounded by so many fighters he admires.
“It was great,” Davis said. “I was excited. I didn’t come up with these guys that were on the stage with me. These guys are older than me, so I came after them. I was still fighting [as an amateur] when Errol Spence was already 6-0 or 7-0 as a pro. It was just amazing and exciting to be up there with them. I’m still like a little kid when I’m around them.”
Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, was equally excited Wednesday to continue demonstrating his network’s strong commitment to boxing. Espinoza made a presentation before the fighters were introduced, during which he displayed data that proved boxing programming “delivers a young, multicultural, stable audience.”
That’ll remain true if fights such as some of those promoted Wednesday continue to be made. The 10 Showtime telecasts set for the first half of this year will feature 12 world champions and 12 world title fights.
“Another myth that we can also retire is the myth that we’ve heard regularly, and some of you may have even written on it on occasion, is that the top fighters don’t fight each other,” Espinoza said. “That may have been true in the past, but last year, on at least a dozen occasions, that’s 12 occasions, on Showtime you saw a top-10-ranked fighter fight another top-10-ranked fighter. Seven times, you saw a top-five fighter fight another top-five fighter.
“For 2018, we’re announcing half of our schedule today, which is really unprecedented for this level of detail. And we already have seven times where a top-10 fighter is fighting another top-10 fighter. Four times are top-five versus top-five. So the best are fighting the best, and you’re seeing it on Showtime. What we’re doing right here is special. Not all boxing is the same. There are levels to this. And what boxing is doing on Showtime is special.”
For a complete look at all of PBC's upcoming fights, check out our schedule page.