NEW YORK – The broadcast team for the April 4 debut of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on CBS features a blend of highly respected sportscasters and shrewd boxing minds. Hosted by CBS Sports Network’s Brent Stover, the fights will be called by versatile and respected play-by-play veteran Kevin Harlan with ringside analysts Paul Malignaggi and broadcast newcomer Virgil Hunter.
The PBC on CBS announce team will usher in the first of up to eight live events this year beginning this Saturday, April 4, at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT. Light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs), of Montreal, will defend his title against former super middleweight world champion Sakio Bika (32-6-3, 21 KOs), of Sydney, Australia. Opening the two-fight afternoon broadcast will be undefeated Russian-born Canadian light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev (7-0, 7 KOs), of Montreal, facing former world champion Gabriel Campillo (25-6-1, 12 KOs), of Madrid, Spain, from Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
A veteran broadcaster, Harlan has called NFL games for 30 consecutive years. He joined CBS Sports’ NFL broadcast team as a play-by-play announcer in 1998. Harlan called CBS Sports’ HDTV coverage of the 2001 AFC Championship and Super Bowl XXXV. He has called CBS Sports' coverage of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship since 1999, including this year’s CBS/Turner coverage of the West Regional from Los Angeles. A well-versed radio broadcaster, this past season Harlan once again called play-by-play for NFL games with Boomer Esiason on Westwood One Radio Sports. Harlan and Esiason were the lead announce team on Westwood One for “Monday Night Football,” the playoffs, a Conference Championship game and the Super Bowl. This season marked Harlan’s fifth consecutive Super Bowl. Harlan called the NCAA Final Four and Championship games for CBS Radio Network and Westwood One for five consecutive years (2003-07), as well as the regionals (2009, 2010, 2011). Harlan’s boxing experience includes the 1995 Mike Tyson vs. Buster Mathis Jr. bout on FOX and various championship boxing events he has called for radio. Harlan is in his 28th season broadcasting the NBA and has called play-by-play action for Turner Sports' coverage of the NBA Playoffs since 1996 and regular-season games for TNT and TBS since 1997.
The 34-year-old Malignaggi is a two-time, two-division world champion. He is known for his passionate and honest assessment of live fights and fighters as an analyst for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. An invaluable asset at ringside, Malignaggi applies a lifetime of personal boxing expertise to dynamic, ever-changing situations in the ring and articulates with aplomb. He’s been a regular ringside analyst since 2012.
The knowledgeable and sage Hunter is one of the most prominent and respected trainers in boxing. He has coached unbeaten super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward, British superstar and former undisputed 140-pound world champion Amir Khan and former welterweight world champion Andre Berto and was named the 2011 Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Hunter is making his first foray into announcing on April 4 and offers a fresh and unique perspective to the PBC on CBS.
Stover has served as studio host for CBS Sports Network since 2011. He joined the network in 2010 and has held a number of roles, including as play-by-play announcer for football, basketball and for Olympic sports. Prior to joining CBS Sports Network, Stover served as host, anchor, reporter and play-by-play voice for the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net Midwest/Southwest.
The second installment of PBC on CBS is Saturday, May 9, and will pit undefeated Omar Figueroa, who vacated his Lightweight World Championship to move up in weight to 140 pounds, against former champion Ricky Burns.
Additional dates for Premier Boxing Champions on CBS are to be announced include live broadcasts in June, July and September, with up to three remaining events on the 2015 calendar. The live boxing broadcasts on CBS, other than the aforementioned premiere, will be broadcast live at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
The Premier Boxing Champions series was created for television by Haymon Boxing. It is the first consistent series presentation of live boxing on CBS in 15 years. The network aired a one-off live event featuring current WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz in 2012. Prior to that, the last live boxing on the network was in 1997 when then-middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins knocked out Glen Johnson.
Live boxing was a staple on the network in the 1980s, consistently featuring future Hall of Famers Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, Roberto Duran, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and others. Boxing’s history on CBS dates back to 1948 when the Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts premiered featuring legendary blow-by-blow commentator Russ Hodges.