By now you've probably heard about Showtime's idea to expand their boxing coverage with fights airing on Showtime Extreme prior to the regular Showtime broadcasts for certain fights. That was going to be the case this Saturday for the Ortiz vs Berto card, but now the debut of the extended fight night festivities will come on February 18.
Showtime has a double-header that night featuring Paul Williams against Nobuhiro Ishida in the junior middleweight main event, plus IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud defending against Gabriel Campillo in the co-feature.
The initial Showtime Extreme broadcast will feature just one live fight, a heavyweight ten-rounder featuring contender Chris Arreola in action.
Jake Donovan at BoxingScene.com reported a few details about what to expect. Barry Tompkins will be joining the Showtime team to call the action with familiar ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood. Tompkins is a veteran broadcaster and a very good one, having been around boxing for years and years. Tompkins is a former play-by-play man for HBO and ESPN, and in recent years has worked various cards, including for shows for Fox Sports Net, Golden Boy and the old Versus network.
In other words, they're bringing in one of the most seasoned play-by-play guys out there, and pairing him with a very knowledgeable, very good color commentator. That should work out fine.
Arreola (34-2, 29 KO) will be facing Eric Molina (18-1, 14 KO) in another tune-up designed to keep Arreola fresh, keep his weight down, and keep him moving toward a possible shot at world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, or perhaps a summer rematch with Tomasz Adamek.
The Showtime Extreme broadcast is currently slated to fill two hours of TV time, starting at 8 p.m. EST. It'll be interesting (or not) to see what they come up with to fill a two-hour block with just one live fight, which if Arreola (or Molina, I guess) has anything to say about it won't be going too long.