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Keith Thurman: NBC deal is ‘great for the sport, positive all the way around’

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda


Adrien Broner, Abner Mares, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Robert Guerrero and Peter Quillin were in Los Angeles on Friday for a variety of promotional activities relating to NBC’s new boxing series titled, “Premier Boxing Champions” (“PBC on NBC”).

The boxers’ appearances will result in head shots for posters and filming for video and commercial production.

“That was pretty much the crew,” said Thurman, who was on hand on Wednesday at NBC Studios in New York for the announcement of a program that is as part of a multi-year deal between the network and adviser Al Haymon. “This is just a blessing, man. To see boxing go back to its roots on one of the original networks to televise boxing, NBC.”

Thurman was among the fighters from past and present in New York for Wednesday’s event, including Broner, Garcia, Guerrero, Lamont Peterson and John Molina as well as boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran.

The deal for the boxing series revolves around several of Haymon’s fighters who were released from their promotional agreements with Golden Boy Promotions. These releases were the result of the company’s settlement with former CEO Richard Schaefer.

The inaugural event will be promoted by Goossen Promotions and air at 9:00 p.m. ET on March 7 as a doubleheader, matching THE RING’s No. 7-rated welterweight Keith Thurman against No. 8-rated Robert Guerrero and No. 6-rated junior welterweight Adrien Broner opposite John Molina from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

On April 11 in New York, likely at Barclays Center, IBF 140-pound beltholder Lamont Peterson will competed in a 143-pound catchweight bout opposite RING champion Danny Garcia, also holder of the WBA and WBC titles.

The 26-year-old Thurman (24-0, 21 knockouts) was most recently in action for last month’s shutout unanimous decision over previously undefeated Leonard Bundu. Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs), 31, is coming off a hard-fought unanimous decision over Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai in June to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013.

A three-division titlist, Broner (29-1, 22 KOs), 25, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision over Emmanuel Taylor in September to follow up his unanimous decision over Carlos Molina in May. The 32-year-old Molina (27-5, 22 KOs) is attempting come back from two straight losses, having been unanimously decisioned by former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto in September and knocked out by THE RING’s No. 1-rated 140-pounder Lucas Matthysse in April.

In their most recent fights, Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) and Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs) scored knockouts on the same card in August at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Garcia, 26, of Philadelphia, registered a second-round stoppage of Rod Salka and Peterson, 30, of Washington, D.C., easily handled Edgar Santana en route to a 10th-round technical knockout.

The No. 2-rated Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs), 31, is a former WBO middleweight titleholder and the No. 3-rated Mares (28-1-1, 15 KOs), 29, is a three-division titlist fighting in the featherweight division. Mares is a consideration for the March 7 card against an opponent to be determined, according to the boxer’s publicist, Hanna Bolte.

Leonard, a former five-division champion and Hall-of-Famer, will serve as boxing analyst alongside blow-by-blow announcer Al Michaels during the shows and in pre- and post-fight coverage of the fights. The 20 show dates scheduled through 2015 will air on NBC Sports Network and NBC, with 11 episodes slated for the main network and nine scheduled for prime-time shows.

“This is just great for the sport and positive all the way around,” said Thurman. “I’m truly happy for the sport and I’m also truly grateful that I’ll be kicking off the series on March 7.”