Fasten your seat belts! Put on your game face! It is time to get it on!! From the opening bell of its initial telecast on March 15, 1986, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING has offered the most talented prizefighters in the most meaningful match-ups. In 2006, “America’s No. 1 Boxing Network” will continue its legacy with its hardest-hitting schedule in history.
Want drama? Want explosive, action-packed Saturday nights? You will get that and more on SHOWTIME the first Saturday of every month (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
Good thing the three-knockdown rule is not in effect. The first three knockout telecasts of the year are guaranteed to leave viewers seeing stars. At the same time, as importantly, the bouts will determine who the true No. 1 fighter is - in FOUR different weight classes.
“We experienced great success in 2005 by airing some of the most compelling bouts of the year,” said Showtime Sports & Event Programming General Manager Ken Hershman. “We have worked long and hard to build on that momentum in 2006, our 20th season. Having four significant divisional fights airing live on SHOWTIME in the first three months of the year is good for the sport and great for our subscribers.”
On Jan. 7, undisputed welterweight world champion Zab “Super” Judah (34-2, 1 NC, 25 KOs) headlines the network’s first card with a World Boxing Council (WBC) 147-pound title defense against mandatory challenger and No. 1 contender Carlos Baldomir (41-9-6, 12 KOs) before Judah’s hometown fans in New York City. In the co-feature, the best cruiserweight in the world will be decided when WBC/World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Jean-Marc Mormeck (31-2, 21 KOs) faces International Boxing Federation (IBF) titleholder O’Neil “Supernova’’ Bell (25-1-1, 23 KOs) in a world title unification bout.
In “The War To Settle The Score On Feb. 4,” Diego “Chico” Corrales (40-3, 33 KOs) and Jose Luis Castillo (53-7, 47 KOs) will collide in an eagerly awaited rubber match to decide once and for all the No. 1 135-pounder on the planet. It will be their third meeting in less than 10 months. In the leading candidate for 2005 Fight of the Year, Corrales won the epic first meeting when he rallied from the brink of near-certain defeat to register a memorable 10th-round TKO and capture the WBC lightweight title on May 7. Castillo avenged the loss with a fourth-round knockout on Oct. 8. Corrales kept his title belts, however, as Castillo failed to make the 135-pound limit.
On March 4, SHOWTIME will deliver a special 20th anniversary gift to fans with the most meaningful world title unification fight of the decade when IBF super middleweight champion Jeff “Left Hook’’ Lacy (21-0, 1 ND, 17 KOs) squares off against World Boxing Organization (WBO) titleholder Joe Calzaghe (40-0, 31 KOs) to determine the best in the 168-pound division. The Lacy-Calzaghe fight comes almost 20 years to the day of the first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast when “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler defeated John “The Beast” Mugabi in a spectacular and unforgettable 11th-round knockout on March 10, 1986.
The list of fighters who have appeared on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING reads like a boxing’s Who’s Who: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Ray Leonard, George Foreman, Julio Cesar Chavez, Lacy, Lennox Lewis, Felix Trinidad, Thomas Hearns, Corrales, Judah, Castillo, Azumah Nelson, Calzaghe, Johnny Tapia, Ricardo Lopez, Pernell Whitaker, Mike McCallum, Ricky Hatton, Hector Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Larry Holmes, Kostya Tszyu, Virgil Hill, Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez, Meldrick Taylor, Chris Eubank, Roberto Duran, Jeff Fenech and Gerald McClellan.
ABOUT SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
In 2006, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING celebrates 20 years of hard-hitting, explosive programming. On March 10, 1986, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was born when “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler defeated John “The Beast” Mugabi in a spectacular and unforgettable 11th-round knockout in Las Vegas. Since that time, the network has aired some of the most historic and significant events in the sport including both Holyfield-Tyson bouts. Always at the forefront of boxing, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING has set itself apart by telecasting “Great Fights, No Rights” on the first Saturday of every month. In addition, SHOWTIME is the first network to regularly deliver live boxing in High Definition. The “Ask Al” segment that allows viewers to pose questions to legendary boxing analyst Al Bernstein for LIVE, on-air response is just one of many interactive features that make SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts the most enjoyable, immersive viewing experience for the boxing audience.