Boxing will most likely never be the same after this weekend. Seriously. Why? Because Premeire Boxing Champions, otherwise known as PBC, is about to go to air live on major network television. What's more, it's providing viewers with major fights - for free.
Don't believe it? Check out this weekend's roster on NBC's flagship station. Undefeated welterweight Keith Thurman is going to face former Floyd Mayweather foil Robert Guerrero. What's more, three time titlist Adrien Broner is going to battle world class tough guy John Molina Jr in a junior welterweight scrap.
Not only are these big names, these are major, relevant matches, as well. Even more enticing is the fact that it's tough to pick a winner in either fight. Thurman is a knockout machine who appears to well be the future of boxing. The operative word here, however, is "appears." For Guerrero is an exceedingly skilled foe who has won titles in numerous weight divisions. Simply put, it's feasible to assume either man could score a knockout.
As for Broner, the brash, bold Cincinnati native seemed well on his way to being heir to Floyd Mayweather's throne when he was bested by Marcos Maidana in a brutal 2013 battle. Now the man who calls himself "The Problem" has moved down to junior welterweight where his speed, power and notable defense are likely to be more significant. The opponent he's up against, however, is a pure warrior.
For Molina waged such a war against Argentina's Lucas Matthysse last year that many, myself included, saw it as the greatest fight in all of 2014. Molina may not have been able to beat Matthysse, but he came so dangerously close that it's easy to see him upsetting Broner. Again, it's hard to be comfortable choosing either man to win.
Needless to say, NBC is going all out here. The peacock network hasn't run a major fight in primetime since Larry Holmes barely beat Carl "The Truth" Williams in a heavyweight title squeaker a full thirty years ago. Yet NBC clearly plans on making up for lost time. The legendary "Sugar" Ray Leonard will be on mic duty now, as will broadcast icons Al Michaels and Marv Albert. Throw in a Hans Zimmer score and you can see what a big deal it all is.
NBC isn't the only channel to be showcasing PBC (SpikeTV and BounceTV will also be showing PBC cards), yet the NBC flagship channel is going to be carrying this biggest cards this side of pay cable. And that may be what makes PBC a game changer. Fights of a caliber that fans used to have to pay to see will, as of this Saturday, be available to everyone with basic cable.
If that doesn't have the potential to bring boxing back in from the margins, it's hard to imagine many other things that can.