CBS assembles championship-caliber boxing broadcast team

A pair of former world champions will anchor the broadcast when CBS returns to the ring with the debut of Premier Boxing Champions at 3 p.m. on Saturday from the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.

CBS Sports Network’s Brent Stover will join 140- and 147-pound world title claimant Paul Malignaggi, who will handle ringside analysis alongside decorated trainer Virgil Hunter and veteran NFL play-by-play man Kevin Harlan.

The two-bout show will be headlined by World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who'll defend his title for the fifth time since wresting it from consensus 175-pound kingpin Chad Dawson via first-round knockout in June 2013. Stevenson will meet another ex-champion -- former 168-pound belt-holder Sakio Bika -- in the main event, while the initial fight matches highly-ranked contenders Gabriel Campillo (No. 4) and Artur Beterbiev (No. 7).

"They want to start in Canada, Quebec City. This is amazing," Stevenson said. "And I'm very glad to be part of that."

The second CBS show is scheduled for May 9, when Omar Figueroa faces Ricky Burns in a 140-pound bout. The main events for additional network dates in June, July and September -- and as many as three more shows before the end of the year -- will be announced separately.

Start times for all shows after Saturday’s curtain-raiser will be 4 p.m.

The April show marks the first appearance of live boxing on the network since 2012, and just the second since 1997. CBS had been a flagship for boxing in the 1980s with coverage of fights featuring eventual Hall of Famers Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Ray Mancini. It initially began broadcasting fights sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon in 1948, called by Russ Hodges.

"The Premier Boxing Champions series on CBS will help usher in a new era in the storied history of boxing," said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.

"With the support of our parent company, we are uniquely positioned for a three-tiered approach that includes live boxing broadcasts on America's No. 1 network, the cable reach of CBS Sports Network, and, of course, the premium television leader in boxing, Showtime. The benefit of elevating the sport across these platforms for all involved, including Showtime, is immeasurable."

Harlan's TV boxing experience includes the Mike Tyson-Buster Mathis Jr. pay-per-view bout in 1995 and several more he's called for radio, while Malignaggi still serves as an analyst for fights on Showtime. Hunter was named Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2011 and Stover has served as studio host for CBS Sports Network since 2011. 

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