Television remote controls are an undeniably convenient device for viewers who want to channel surf, adjust the volume and otherwise manage their entertainment system without repeatedly standing up and making these changes by hand. Now, starting March 7, you will be able to use your TV remote controls to watch a sport that has long been absent from primetime network television: boxing. For the first time in almost thirty years, the athletic display that gave us figures like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman will be broadcast on NBC.
Previously broadcast on public networks, boxing has been relegated to pay-per-view coverage since 1985, with the exception of reality shows like “The Contender”. As a result, public perception of the sport has declined over the years: while marketable athletes like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield drew viewers in the 1990s and many boxing fans still watch matches on Showtime and HBO, these formats make it difficult for casual and new boxing fans to get in on the action. For this reason, Al Haymon, who manages Floyd Mayweather Jr., invested millions to bring boxing back to primetime, hoping it will lead to higher dividends and a resurgence in the sport. As a result of these efforts, NBC will host five boxing cards throughout 2015 as part of a program they are calling Premier Boxing Champions, or PBC. Another 15 live boxing showcases will be aired on their sister station, NBCSN, and in non-primtetime spaces. Haymon also reportedly has a deal in place with CBS to increase networking opportunities for the sport.
PBC’s first match, which will take place in Las Vegas, will be headlined by Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero. Meanwhile, Adrien Broner and John Molina Jr. will serve as the undercard. Monday Night Football’s Al Michaels will be sitting in the announcer’s booth, Marv Albert will serve as the blow by blow announcer, and Sugar Ray Leonard will serve as the analyst.
Some critics will undoubtedly comment that this sport should never have been returned to mainstream America’s attention. However, millions of other people around the United States have likely just reached for their television remote controls, ready for the for the first match. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start programming a remote to prepare for this exciting television event. Don’t have a working remote? Consider investing in replacement television remote controls. This isn’t an event you want to miss because you don’t have replacement remotes!