PBC on ESPN debuts Saturday with Thurman vs. Collazo, 9 p.m. ET

The PBC Haymon Train rolls into Tampa, Florida for its first card on ESPN featuring Keith Thurman, but the co-main could steal the show.

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Keith Thurman (left) and Luis Collazo face off in Tampa on Friday. Photo: Premier Boxing
Keith Thurman (left) and Luis Collazo face off in Tampa on Friday. Photo: Premier Boxing

SAN DIEGO, July 10, 2015 – ESPN joins the Premier Boxing Champions lineup with its first event on Saturday featuring its star attraction, welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman. The event takes place in Tampa, Florida, near Thuman’s home town of Clearwater.

Keith Thurman (left) had little trouble with Robert Guerrero in PBC's inaugural event in March. Photo: Premier Boxing
Keith Thurman (left) had little trouble with Robert Guerrero in PBC’s inaugural event in March. Photo: Premier Boxing

Thurman (25-0-1, 21 KOs) opened up the first PBC broadcast in March with a win against the always game Robert Guerrero. It was a lopsided decision for Thuman, who put Guerrero on the canvas for the first time in his career. His opponent for this fight is another pressure style boxer, veteran southpaw Luis Collazo (36-6, 19 KOs).

Let’s see. Thuman has an eight year age advantage over Collazo and double the knockout percentage. He’s shown Is there much chance of an upset? Not so much. Thurman is simply too strong and skilled to be taken down unless he makes a mistake.

Collazo’s best fight might be his narrow loss to Ricky Hatton nine years ago. Amir Khan had his way with him in a decision loss in 2014. No one expects this to be much of a contest. But it’s worth pointing out that Collazo returned to the ring after being sidelined by an injury in 2011 during a year that saw him fall into depression and substance abuse, an admirable turnaround. Collazo will give it everything he’s got.


Thurman is being groomed for greater things. Will those things include a meeting with Floyd Mayweather? Whether it’s a long shot, Thurman can increase the odds of Big Money with a good show on Saturday.

Tony Harrison (left) and Willie Nelson stay civil just long enough for the face off in Tampa on Friday. Photo: Premier Boxing
Tony Harrison (left) and Willie Nelson stay civil just long enough for the face off in Tampa on Friday. Photo: Premier Boxing

The televised co-main event introduces the national audience to a rising super middleweight star, Tony Harrison of Detroit (21-0, 18 KOs) facing Willie Nelson (23-2-1. 13 KOs). Harrison trained at the famed Kronk Gym with Emanual Steward early in his career, who gave him his nickname “Superbad.” Harrison has been a recent fixture on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights.” He’s an active boxer-puncher riding a ten-fight knockout streak.


READ MORE: Preview: Herrera, Lundy promise war, Saturday, HBO Latino 11 p.m. ET


Nelson is coming off a November decision loss to Vanes Martirosyan. He’s the slightly bigger man to Harrison, but his knockout percentage is half that of Harrison. His career is stalled; he’s destined for journeyman status without a good showing Saturday.

Harrison was a protege of the last Emanuell Steward at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Photo: Premier Boxing
Harrison was a protege of the last Emanuell Steward at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Photo: Premier Boxing

Harrison and Nelson don’t have much good to say about each other. The pair got into a scrap at their final news conference this week, but they kept their tempers in check at the weigh-in. Harrison says he is taking all the “bad blood” personally. “You need to bring a pillow, because obviously someone’s going to go to sleep,” said Keith Thurman while he looked on while Harrison and Nelson went at each other.

All fighters made weight on Friday.

ESPN’s announcing tandem of Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside for this first PBC event. Atlas promises he’ll be the same old Teddy sounding off like always. Al Haymon must be hanging onto his worry beads.

ESPN’s first edition of Premier Boxing Champions airs at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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