arreola2The Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California hosts the first edition of Spike TV’s new boxing series “Premier Boxing Champions”. Two welterweight matches featuring two former world champions are on deck as Andre Berto takes on Josesito Lopez and Shawn Porter faces of against Roberto Garcia. The third ten round bout of the evening features Heavyweight Chris Arreola as he begins his comeback trail against undefeated Curtis Harper (12-0). Right now the only line up at the books sees Berto as a (-280) favorite over Lopez, who is coming back at (+200). There are no lines on the other feature fights yet, and there are no over/under odds posted, but look for more numbers on this very high profile card to pop up in the next 24-48 hours. Back in April of 2011, Andre Berto was the undefeated (27-0) WBC World Welterweight champion who was entering the fifth defense of his title against Victor Ortiz. What ensued was a hard fought war that saw both men get up off the canvas to keep fighting, and despite a late point deduction to Ortiz for hitting behind the head, at the end of the fight the judges saw it (114-111, 114-112, 115-110) for Ortiz. Andre Berto has not been the same fighter since. Since then, he has gone just (2-2) taking breaks of fourteen, eight and thirteen months between fights due to some personal problems and a suspension for PEDs. He fought just once in 2014, defeating Steve Upsher Chambers by unanimous decision back in September, and prior to that he had lost two fights in a row, against Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. In Lopez, Berto faces a veteran fighter who has been fighting very actively precisely during Berto’s down time. He has faced some of the biggest names in boxing, including Marcos Maidana and Saul Alvarez, and he owns a ninth round stoppage win over Berto-slayer Victor Ortiz. Since dropping back to back fights to Maidana and Alvarez, Lopez has gone (3-0) as he has taken the time to heal several nagging injuries and is said by his people to be in the best shape he has been in for the past few years. Lopez may be the underdog here, but he will have a chance early to try and make Berto doubt himself by pressuring him. Berto, now 31 and a fighter who most let his prime years (27-31) be spent on the sidelines for one reason or another is going to have to show more than he did against Upsher-Chambers to win this fight, the question is does he still have it? The “PBC” series is the brain child of advisor/entrepreneur Al Haymon, who has signed hundreds of boxers to contracts in the past year and he has invested heavily to launch the “PBC” brand by purchasing time not only on SPIKE but on an array of networks. Last week’s event from the MGM Grand that featured Keith Thurman vs Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner taking on John Molina aired on NBC in the USA.


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