As most fight fans are now aware, ESPN’s Friday Fight Nights will soon be coming to an end. It’s been a great run, which has long provided the US with pre-weekend pugilism. Friday Fight Nights, we now mourn you…
Mourning over, we can now look forward to the show’s promising replacement, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). The Al Haymon outfit is already growing in popularity, having made its debut on NBC last March featuring Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero.
PBC, along with hot talent Thurman, will now be making another debut on ESPN, July 11th. And it’s no wonder PBC chose Thurman to headline the event, given his fan-friendly marketability.
When you think Thurman (25-0, 21 KO), you think boxer-puncher. And when you throw in a veteran boxer-puncher like Luis Collazo, this event could generate some good numbers for Al Haymon’s baby.
The bout (venue yet to be announced) is set to take place in Tampa, Florida. Thurman, who resides in Clearwater, will be pleased with the twenty-minute commute.
“I am very happy to be where I am in my career,” Thurman told ESPN.com. “Boxing is opening back up to the people, and it’s been a dream of mine to be a true champion. [The PBC] is opening up doors that will give the world-class fighters the exposure that they need. I want to be the American people’s champion. There is nothing better than getting the exposure, giving the fans great fights and being cheered by the public.”
The 26-year-old faced his first serious test of his career in March against durable former-champ Robert Guerrero. Thurman scored a hard 9th round knockdown and took home a one-sided decision, despite enduring some sticky patches.
His July 11th opponent Luis Collazo (36-6, 19 KO) is no pushover, but shouldn’t be too much of a threat following the bell. His prime days may be over, but so the cliche goes, a fighter never loses his punch. And that is what Thurman should fear the most. Just ask Victor Ortiz, who was knocked out in the 2nd round by Collazo in 2014.
Not that Thurman is overlooking his future foe.
“Collazo always comes to fight,” Thurman said. “He has been in with some of the best fighters in the world and he has tons of experience. Fighting another southpaw, we’ll be prepared.”
Thurman vs Collazo, which is scheduled for 10 rounds, will see chief support from two familiar Friday Fight Nights faces. 24-year-old Tony Harrison will be trading leather with contender Willie Nelson in a Junior Middleweight contest.
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