Per ESPN, Bob Arum's Top Rank Boxing and Fox Sports are on the verge of finalizing a new free boxing show that would air on Saturday nights. With the disappearance of Solo Boxeo, Wednesday Night Fights and Versus Fight Night over the course of the last year, getting new boxing on basic cable TV can only be a good thing, even if Arum's record with prior TV shows is a bit spotty.
The show itself will primarily air on Fox Sports Espanol, which will have 100% coverage. It is expected that most of the shows will also be simulcast on Fox Sports Net, although local sports broadcasting may preempt the show in the English language telecasts. Barring an early cancellation, the show should air for at least 36 dates.
And for some more good news, a number of the fights are already scheduled, including bouts featuring Joshua Clottey, Jorge Arce, Mike Jones (one of the best prospects around who has inexplicably not been on US TV yet) and Kendall Holt. Per Dan Rafael:
The Jan. 16 premiere will take place at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas and likely will feature former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey against Michel Rosales. That's one of the cards that will be available live on both networks, duBoef said.
- The Jan. 30 card will come from Toluca, Mexico, and feature former titleholder Jorge Arce of Mexico against Indonesia's Angky Angkota for the junior bantamweight title recently vacated by Marvin Sonsona when he failed to make weight.
- On Feb. 6, lightweight prospects Brandon Rios and Jorge Teron will meet at a site to be determined in Texas.
- The Feb. 20 show is expected to feature former junior welterweight titlist Kendall Holt, who hasn't fought since losing his belt to Tim Bradley in an April unification bout. Holt could be in a title eliminator with the right to challenge titleholder Juan Urango at stake.
- Welterweight prospect Mike Jones of Philadelphia will appear in the Feb. 27 main event at Bally's in Atlantic City, N.J., against an opponent to be named. Top Rank is working on the show with Jones promoter Russell Peltz.
- The March 6 card will come from Mexico, but the fights have not been determined.
- On March 20, heavyweight prospect Odlanier Solis, a 2004 Cuban Olympian, will headline from Key West, Fla., against an opponent to be determined. It's possible he could face Ray Austin in a title eliminator with the right to face Vitali Klitschko on the line.
From the looks of the lineup so far, expect something along the lines of Arum's show on Versus. This is at least the fourth Top Rank show that I can remember (Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, the predecessor to FNF; Solo Boxeo; and Versus Fight Night), and Arum currently has a very strong affiliation with Box Azteca, so there's a pretty long track record to look at. We should get quite a few shows featuring established names in showcase fights and mandatories, as well as a number of shows prominently featuring prospects in step-up bouts. Just be thankful that Tye Fields is no longer a top rank fighter.