NBC Sports has reached an agreement to extend its contract with Main Events’ Fight Night series through December of 2014 after having started in November, and, in addition, will upgrade from four shows to six per year, according to Main Events President, Kathy Duva.
Included in the deal is a Dec. 22 broadcast that will air from 4-to-6 p.m., with a hoped-for appearance during that time slot by former light heavyweight beltholder and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek (46-2, 28 knockouts).
The first two dates of 2013 are scheduled to be Jan. 19 and March 9 from 9-to-11 p.m., with the potential for the 12 slots over the next two years to be expanded to 16.
“The big story is that we’ve got a fight on NBC on the 22nd of December. It’s a little too early, but if he gets through the Sept. 8 fight, then we’re aiming for it to be Adamek on that date,” said Duva.
“That would be a really nice heavyweight fight, but we can’t guarantee that. He would have to win on Sept. 8. But that’s what we’re pointing toward.”
Adamek has a targeted Sept. 8 return to the ring at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., against three-division titlewinner James Toney, this, marking a return to the site of his last victory, a unanimous decision over contender Eddie Chambers on June 16.
Adamek will be after his third straight victory, having last suffered defeat by 10th-round stoppage against Vitali Klitschko in September of last year, having been a major player in the NBC Fight Night series.
Another big star on the NBC series has been Zab Judah (42-7, 29 KOs), whose ninth-round stoppage of previously undefeated Vernon Paris (26-1, 15 KOs) was televised on the show in March from the Aviator Sports Complex in Judah’s native Brooklyn, N.Y.
Under Duva, Adamek had won 13 staight fights, including six of them in a row as a heavyweight, before being stopped by Klitschko. Duva guided Judah to the IBF junior welterweight title with a seventh-round knockout over Kaizer Mabuza in March of last year before being dethroned by fifth-round stoppage by Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) in July of last year.
“The next show is Sept. 21, which is a Friday. That will be on NBC, and we expect to announce that card next week,” said Duva. “And then both Dec. 8 and Dec. 22 will be on NBC, but Dec. 22 will be on the broadcast network in the afternoon like in the old days. That’s the one where we’re targeting Adamek for the main event.”
Hall of Fame matchmaker J. Russell Peltz, who has worked and promoted the series, said that the Sept. 21 event will take place at The Sands Casino in Bethlehem
“We had two top 10 heavyweights fighting on NBC. How often do you see that anywhere? We had Judah and Paris, and that was a substantial fight,” said Peltz.
“We’ve done all of this in four shows, and they’ve all been in venues where real fight fans are. We’re trying to build attractions and at the same time, make good fights. This shows you that somebody at network television knows what they’re doing.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org