Berto, Lopez, Porter, Garcia look forward to Spike TV dividends
The March 13 doubleheader featuring two-time welterweight titleholder Andre Berto against Josesito Lopez and former IBF 147-pound beltholder Shawn Porter opposite Roberto Garcia will take place at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., Haymon Boxing Management officially announced on Wednesday.
Berto (29-3, 22 knockouts) will face Lopez (33-6, 19 KOs) in the main event of a new boxing series on the Spike TV cable network unveiled by adviser Al Haymon. The co-feature will match Porter (24-1, 15 KOs) and Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs).
The premiere episode will be the debut of a monthly series that will air on Fridays at 9:00 p.m. as part of a multi-year deal.
“Fighting on the ‘Premier Boxing Champions’ series on Spike TV is huge for all of us and for the sport of boxing,” said Berto. “This is going to take all of us to a whole different level and give us the chance to become household names.”
A two-time welterweight titlewinner, Berto returned to full-time training from shoulder surgery in Aug. 2013 to repair a ruptured subscapularis (under the shoulder blade) tendon he suffered during a 12th-round stoppage loss to Jesus Soto Karass in July 2013. The most recent surgery had followed a previous procedure to repair a ruptured left biceps in February 2012.
The loss to Soto Karass was Berto’s first by knockout. His other setbacks were by unanimous decision to Victor Ortiz in April 2011 and to Robert Guerrero in Nov. of 2012.
“Fighting on free television is what made guys like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler huge stars and I’m ready for my chance to do the same,” said Berto. “I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my career and you’re going to see a new and rejuvenated Andre Berto on March 13 on Spike TV so make sure to tune in.”
Lopez has sandwiched a fifth round technical knockout of Aaron Martinez in April 2014 between decisions over Mike Arnaoutis and Rafael Cobos in Dec. 2013 and last September. Prior to facing Alvarez in his 154-pound debut, Lopez captivated many fans by stopping Ortiz, a former 147-pound titleholder whose jaw was broken during their bout.
“This is definitely going to be the fight of my life and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to all of my local fans being there to witness a great victory. I’m fighting a really good fighter in Berto but every fighter is dangerous,” said Lopez.
“I know I have to prepare even better than ever. On March 13, I expect a big crowd because I’m fighting so close to home and my fans have been so supportive wherever I fight. I’m confident that I’m going to give the fans in attendance and on television a great performance.”
Porter lost his belt by majority decision to Kell Brook in August after having won it by fourth round technical knockout over two-division beltholder Paulie Malignaggi in April. Prior to Malignaggi, Porter was coming off a unanimous decision win over Alexander, during which he dictated a physical fight that left both fighters bleeding from cuts around their eyes in Dec. 2013.
“The opportunity to fight on Spike TV and show my skills in front of millions of people is very exciting. Being a part of the first PBC event on Spike TV is an honor. My opponent has a great record and he’s a veteran,” said Porter.
“He’s strong and durable and he’s going to be ready when he gets into that ring. I expect it to be a very tough fight but a great fight. Of course, I expect to win and I expect to look very good doing it.”
In his last fight in July, Garcia secured a unanimous decision over Breidis Prescott, representing his eighth consecutive victory since losing a unanimous decision to former titleholder Antonio Margarito in a junior middleweight bout in May 2010.
“I’m grateful that I’m going to be part of something that is going to be great for this sport and that is being on the first PBC event on Spike TV. Shawn Porter is a great, world-class fighter,” said Garcia.
“He is the kind of fighter that you need to beat to be seen at the ‘A-level’ in boxing. This is the fight that can change my career and my life. I’m already training as hard as I can. I’m giving it everything I have in the gym so I can give everything I have on March 13.”
Note: Quotes from a release