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Is Premier Boxing Champions on its last legs?

Things aren't looking so good over at PBC as boxing remains in a state of flux.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

There was plenty of hype and intrigue when Premier Boxing Champions made its debut back in March of last year, but since then things have been on a rapid decline. The goal of PBC, masterminded by highly influential manager/advisor Al Haymon, was to bring championship level boxing back to network television where it would presumably benefit from wide mainstream exposure. That, at least partly due to lackluster matchmaking and high fighter purses, hasn't been the case, and now things seem to be unraveling.

Haymon started by purchasing airtime from major networks including CBS, NBC, ESPN, Bounce TV, Spike TV, Fox and others. The fight scheduling and large number of networks were so all over the place that it was even difficult for those who wanted to follow the series to be able to.

Now, only a year-and-a-half later, the sole remaining PBC card on schedule is a Sep. 27 FS1 card headlined by Bryant Perrella against Yordenis Ugas...Yikes!

Word has it that Haymon has now blown through most of his nearly $500M war chest obtained from investors. ESPN's Dan Rafael reports that he regularly tracks fighter's purses from state commissions, and that PBC fighter purses have dropped significantly from where they were last year. Not only that, the entire production budget for PBC has been visibly slashed, with there no longer being that huge stage and special fighter holding areas.

All the bells and whistles (and lights!) aside, what fans care most about are the actual fights. And to that end there has been much to be desired from PBC. Yes, they have staged a few great fights like Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter, but for the most part the match-ups have been pretty mundane, if not just downright awful.

What a difference a year makes...As Dan Rafael puts it: last summer we got Leo Santa Cruz vs. Abner Mares in front a large crowd at the Staples Center, and this summer we got Sergey Lipinets against Walter Castillo in a small casino. Maybe a slight difference.

Showtime is said to be planning to host a couple of PBC fights later this fall, but major network NBC is cutting bait. Yesterday NBC announced that they will not broadcast any more PBC cards this year, canceling two prime-time NBC cards in December and three other NBCSN cards.

"We are working with the PBC folks to move remaining shows to better dates in first two to three months of '17," an NBC spokesman told on Wednesday.

But will NBC actually air any PBC fights at all next year? That remains unclear. But it does seem pretty clear that the network isn't into boxing for the long haul, even with PBC footing the bill.

So looking at PBC and it's vast roster as a whole in 2016, what we see is a lot of sitting around and waiting. Many top PBC fighters have only fought once this year and don't have anything else scheduled at this time. Those people would include Danny Garcia, Andre Berto, Daniel Jacobs, the Charlo twins, Erislandy Lara, Rances Barthelemy (shout out to you for following me on Twitter!), Adrien Broner, Gary Russell Jr., and a number of others.

And then there are the list of PBC fighters who haven't participated at all in 2016 like Abner Mares, Lamont Peterson, Peter Quillin, etc.

It's expected that at least some of these folks will get accommodated before the year's out, but certainly not all of them. A partial explanation from PBC goes:

"Most people in TV sports programming stay away from trying to counter program college football, the NFL, MLB playoffs and the start of the NBA season in October and November," PBC spokesman Tim Smith said. "PBC is a TV boxing series, and as such, it's mindful of the sports programming around it, and it wants to maximize potential viewership among sports fans."

There certainly is some truth in that statement, but when the money was flowing freely that didn't appear to me as much of an issue. It feels like the clock is winding down on PBC as an entity, and considering that it still holds a large number of notable fighters, another mass migration could be upon us.

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