In four days, boxing hits Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., with Bob Costas serving as a special contributor for NBC’s Saturday, April 11 primetime telecast of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC.
Costas, host Al Michaels, and blow-by-blow announcer Marv Albert will work together on a broadcast for the first time ever, and will be joined on the telecast by analyst and six-time world champion “Sugar” Ray Leonard, corner analyst B.J. Flores, and reporter Kenny Rice.
The primetime show features four boxers with a combined 127-4-1 record and 80 KOs – undefeated superstar Danny “Swift” Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) vs. Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs), and middleweight champion “Irish” Andy Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) vs. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs).
Costas, who will present a feature on the long and storied history of boxing in New York, describes his most memorable New York boxing moment:
“You would have to have experienced it in some way to understand the anticipation of Ali-Frazier I at Madison Square Garden in March of 1971. They were both undefeated. They could both claim to be heavyweight champion, because Ali had never lost in the ring, as his titles had been stripped from him by boxing commissions and now he was coming back. They had contrasting styles. Each was an all-time great. If they had somehow been able to survive and somehow had fought 10 times, all 10 fights probably would have been close. It was more than a big sports event, because Ali was such a controversial and provocative figure that people took sides based not just on ring preference, but largely on politics. This had a kind of tension and was freighted with a kind of meaning in people’s minds that went beyond a great boxing match. And it was a great boxing match.
“I was not at Madison Square Garden that night. I was a freshman at Syracuse University, and in those days pay-per-view meant you had to go to a theater to see it. I went to the Loew’s Theatre in Syracuse, and for $5 I sat in a movie theatre and watched it. The amount of passion in that theater went way beyond what you would feel for even a great sports event and it would turn out to be a truly great and close fight. Championship fights were 15 rounds then, and they had an epic quality to them. To me it was one of the most exhilarating sports events I have ever seen and I could only imagine what it would have been like to have been in Madison Square Garden, because it was truly unforgettable to see it in a theatre some 250 miles away.”
Joe Frazier, who entered the fight 26-0 with 23 knockouts, defeated Muhammad Ali (31-0, 25 KOs) by unanimous decision in front of 20,455 fans at Madison Square Garden.
NBC and NBCSN will present 20 live PBC on NBC boxing events in 2015. Within the 20 live shows, NBC Sports Group will present more than 50 hours of PBC coverage, including NBCSN pre- and post-fight programming for NBC telecasts. The Premier Boxing Champions series is created for television by Haymon Boxing. The PBC on NBC will feature many of today’s brightest stars, in their most compelling matches.
All PBC on NBC shows will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. NBC Sports Live Extra is available for desktops at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available at the App Store for iPad and iPod touch, on select devices within Google Play, and on windows phones and tablets.