The premiere of NBC Sports' new boxing series is coming on January 21 from the ECW Arena (call it what you want, that's what it is) in Philadelphia with a pair of attractive fights that set the bar for what the series can be expected to produce next year.
In the main event, heavyweight contender Eddie Chambers (36-2, 18 KO) will face rejuvenated former titleholder Sergei Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KO) in a 10-round bout. Chambers was set to face Tony Thompson on October 28 in an IBF title eliminator, but pulled out due to injury, making Thompson the mandatory for one of Wladimir Klitschko's title belts.
Liakhovich, 35, really looked like his old self in a valiant TKO loss to Robert Helenius on August 27, in what is probably my Heavyweight Fight of the Year.
As much as some may groan at a heavyweight fight between a couple of veterans with limited upside being the main event, look at it optimistically: Liakhovich is one of the best action fighters in the division, and Chambers isn't too bad to watch, either.
The co-feature will likely be a junior middleweight fight between a pair of tough scrappers, as Philly's Gabriel Rosado (18-5, 10 KO) meets Jesus Soto Karass (24-6-3, 16 KO). Soto Karass was recently in camp with Antonio Margarito to prepare Margarito for his December 3 fight with Miguel Cotto, so he's had some good work recently. Rosado is a 25-year-old guy who has come up the hard way, and hasn't been matched easy in his career. Soto Karass would be a career-best win for him.
The series debut will come the same night as the Paul Williams vs Nobuhiro Ishida fight on Showtime.