One of the major boxing stories of 2015 has been the emergence of the Premier Boxing Champions series. Thanks to the PBC, boxing returned to primetime, network television for the first time in a generation. Thanks to the PBC, there was more boxing than ever before available on television in 2015.
Because the PBC is the creature of powerbroker Al Haymon, many fans have been prepared to criticize it from the start. I’ve complained about the way Haymon handles his fighters before myself. But ultimately, if you’re a boxing fan, more boxing on television is better than less.
The PBC’s December 29 card is a prime example of the good the series has done for the sport this year. Before Haymon moved into programming this year, there was no way a fan was going to get to see a rising prospect like Omar Douglas competing on a week night.
At 24 years of age, Omar Douglas is 15-0 with 11 KOs. He’s beaten nobody of note, but the super featherweight is definitely a prospect worth taking note of. At 5’7″, he sports an impressive 72″ reach. He’s got the classic build of a prizefighter, compact but long-limbed.
This is just Douglas’ third scheduled 10-rounder and the national television audience is a potential break-through moment for him. Quoted in a press release sent out by King’s Promotions last week, he sounded anxious to make te most of this: “I’ve been working really hard and getting great work in camp. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and I plan to take advantage of it.”
Omar Douglas’ opponent will be Frank De Alba, 17-1-2 with 6 KOs. De Alba lost in his first professional fight, back in 2011. He drew in his fourth and fifth fights, but at this point he’s riding a 15-fight winning streak. Though he’s far less heralded than Douglas, this bout represents exactly the same kind of opportunity for him.
Casual fans who have complained that the PBC isn’t making every single big fight they want to see are missing the point. A Tuesday night card featuring a matchup like Douglas and De Alba is the boxing equivalent of the same kind of college basketball games that are a staple of weekly sports programming. If you’re a true fan of the sport, you’d rather watch that than anything else on the dial.