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Fox latest network to stage PBC prime-time show, with Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero

Fox latest network to stage PBC prime-time show, with Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero
Danny Garcia weighs in for a 2012 bout against Amir Khan. (David Becker / Getty Images for Golden Boy Prod)

Already the primary destination for Ultimate Fighting Championship action, Fox is adding prime-time boxing to its fight programming Saturday with the Danny Garcia-Robert Guerrero welterweight title fight at Staples Center.

Powerful boxing manager Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions announced a two-year deal with Fox last year after previously assigning minor bouts to Fox Sports 1's "Toe to Toe Tuesdays."

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Saturday's card, starting at 5 p.m. Pacific time, will be the first of three PBC shows by July on Fox, with the next date to be determined.

"I'm sure there's some crossover, with some of the MMA fighters being such great boxers, like [women's bantamweight champion and former boxing champion] Holly Holm," said David Nathanson, Fox's head of business operations.

"There's no question boxing is part of mixed martial arts, and while it is a different audience, we believe each can live side by side on Fox."

Fox hasn't aired a major prime-time boxing card since Dec. 16, 1995, when heavyweight Mike Tyson fought Buster Mathis Jr.

Thanks to a venture-capital investment estimated in the $500 million range, PBC has purchased time on networks, including CBS, NBC and ABC/ESPN, and Haymon's company boasted the top four rated boxing broadcasts of last year.

While prime-time ratings on NBC decreased during 2015 and fall cable ratings were weak since PBC's March debut on NBC, the Fox opener could be well received given that a large segment of the country in the east is expected to remain captive in their homes due to a massive snowstorm.

Philadelphia's Garcia (31-0) said he's hopeful the exposure can help him widen his audience as boxing feels the void of a seminal figure now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. has retired.

Ratings are "hard to predict since our last fight was Mike Tyson and before we had the NFL … we're a very different network than we were then," Nathanson said. "With our history, we think we'll have positive momentum. We hope this is the foundation for many more big events with boxing and PBC into the future."

Nathanson said beyond Haymon's ability to buy time, he's impressed with the quality of PBC's talent and production. Brian Kenny will host the show, and Gus Johnson will call the action.

"Clearly, PBC has been able to put on cards and events that are at a level significantly higher than what we've seen in the past, and that's why it justifies this broad distribution," Nathanson said.

"A combination of strong promotion, a stable of fighters who are premium-cable fighters and the production elements PBC employs raise the bar from what boxing fans have come to expect to this level of boxing … everything from little things like the color of the ropes to how they produce and add audio elements around the corners of each boxer. The attention to detail is at a level we haven't see outside pay-per-view events."

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