This coming Saturday, June 18th the Premier Boxing Champions series airs on NBC with a full night of fights from Chicago’s UIC Pavilion. Three of the featured fights are already getting attention at the sports books. The main event of the evening is a rematch as WBA Bantamweight world champion Juan Carlos Payano (17-0) takes on Rau’shee Warren. The books have a very competitive line as Warren, the challenger, comes in as a -160 favorite, with Payano returning at +140. There is no over under posted as of yet, and a minor IBO world title is also on the line in this one. Their first meeting took place back in August of 2015, and both men have been inactive as the rematch was made. the first meeting ended with two judges giving Payano the fight 113-111 and the third judge giving it to Warren by a comfortable 115-109 score. The match saw Payano deducted a point for pushing Warren’s head down, while Warren was deducted two points in the ninth round for shoving Payano. One of the main reasons for the rematch was the job done by referee Frank Santore Jr, as the fight turned into an ugly affair and his deductions almost certainly affected the final outcome. The other fights getting attention from the sports books are considered showcase bouts and have considerably wider lines. In the Light Heavyweight division, #2 ranked (tbrb.org) Andrjez Fonfara faces Joe Smith Jr as a huge favorite. Fonfara is a -3000 favorite over Smith Jr, who is returning at +1500. Fonfara, 28-3 overall, has been fighting at a high level for the pst several years, and his list of opponents includes Adonis Stevenson, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Nathan Cleverly. As for Smith Jr, this is a big step up in competition, as the 21-1 fighter out of Long Island, New York has not faced anyone with Fonfara’s pedigree. The final bout getting a line comes in the 154 pound weight class and sees undefeated prospect Erickson Lubin (14-0) taking on veteran Daniel Sandoval (38-3). Lubin is coming in a -1500 favorite, with Sandoval returning at +1000.
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