By Paul Magno | April 01, 2024

Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) made their Amazon Prime Video debut Saturday night and, no matter what you thought of the show, you have to admit it’s a boxing-plus to see the company make headlines for actual fights rather than outside-the-ring business matters.

Here are this jaded bad guy’s thoughts on the show:

– Would Sebastian Fundora have walked away with a win on Saturday if not for that freak accident at the end of the second round which saw Tim Tszyu essentially headbutt Fundora’s pointy-ass elbow and crack open the top of his own head in the process? I say-- nope.

Tszyu was already finding the answer to Fundora’s long-range game plan when the incident happened. Hell, he had already broken Fundora’s nose. Without the accident, I think this fight might’ve gone into the eighth-- maybe—before Tszyu laid him out for good.

After the blood started flowing and visibility became severely limited, though, the second-generation world champ began operating at significantly less than 100%. It could be argued that Tszyu should’ve worked past that and put a faster and greater squeeze on Fundora to get the fight over and done with. Fundora seemed there for the taking. It could also be argued that Tszyu and/or his team should’ve  forced the fight to be called. However, the bigger argument could be that the Nevada State Athletic Commission, seeing Tszyu’s vision was greatly impaired, should’ve had the fight stopped, at least after giving his corner a round or two to stop the gushing. The outcome of this fight was a technicality built around a freak accident.

– Tainted victory or not, Fundora did nothing wrong. He played the cards dealt to him and walked away with Tszyu’s WBO belt as well as the vacant WBC strap. But you know that there’s now going to be a mad dash to get first crack at a vulnerable defending champ carrying around two world title belts. Errol Spence was at T-Mobile Arena for the show and was brought into the ring, post-fight. Business realities dictate that Spence could end up getting the first shot at Fundora, even if there are at least three next-fight opponents I can see as immediately more deserving-- Tszyu, Terence Crawford, and Jermell Charlo.

In a perfect world, I’d like to see Fundora-Tszyu II and Spence-Erickson Lubin top a 154 lb. double-header with the winners facing one another. In this not-so-perfect world, we may see Fundora-Spence at the top of a bill with Tszyu headlining some shows back in Australia. 

– PBC has now moved on to 154 like they did with 147 a few years ago. Many of the top names at junior middleweight are now either PBC or PBC-aligned fighters and three of the four current world titles belong to PBC fighters. Throw in Spence and even a cross-your-fingers, wish on a shooting star chance at Keith Thurman actually coming back and they have some good depth in the division. It’s certainly enough to tie up the top of the division.

But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Remember, when the company pretty much owned 147, we saw Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Spence pretty much all fight one another over a few years’ span (except Spence-Thurman). We even saw them bring Manny Pacquiao, Yordenis Ugas, and eventually Terence Crawford into the mix. We’ll have to wait and see how things are pieced together in the coming months.

– Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz pretty much steamrolled Rolando “Rolly” Romero to take Romero’s WBA junior welterweight title via eighth round TKO. The dominant win makes you really, really regret Subriel Matias’ decision to signs with Matchroom. A Matias-Cruz unification would’ve been a true irresistible force vs. immovable object classic. As things stand now, the biggest fights for Cruz would be outside the PBC umbrella, although there’s always Ismael Barroso, who was screwed via quick stoppage in his bid for the vacant WBA belt against Rolly Romero last May. Cruz-Barroso would be stellar, although you have to assume that Cruz will now be looking for bigger money fights. Maybe a Tank Davis rematch also comes into play. It should also be noted that, as I understand it, Cruz is free to compete anywhere, for anyone, and isn’t necessarily tied to fighting on PBC cards. 

– Consider Rolly Romero a very fortunate young man who managed to parlay a big mouth and a big personality into a couple of big-money fights and a world title. This loss should be the end of the line for him, at least when it comes to “serious” fights. There was some hope that working with legendary Cuban trainer Ismael Salas would help him add some refinement to his game. It didn’t. It’s hard to envision a scenario where he does anything whatsoever against any of the top dogs at 140. Rolly will likely be cashed-out against fighters on the rise (Gary Antuanne Russell?) for as long as he can be cashed out, but the dream of elite-level stardom is probably over.

– Speaking of Rolly...His dazed, concussed “like Jesus resurrected, I’ll be back” post-fight interview will go down as the weirdest since Mike Tyson’s “spinal.” Oscar De La Hoya’s laughing social media reaction video (with a laughing cameo by Bernard Hopkins), gloating about Rolly’s KO loss, was truly classless, but not at all unexpected from a guy whose post-fighting conduct screams “raging sociopath.” 

– Oh yeah, and how the fuck did judge Chris Flores have Rolly ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage? Check that man for a mini-stroke.

– Erislandy Lara’s critics had to wait for almost a decade, but the object of their derision has finally morphed into the fighter they always wanted him to be. Once upon a time a slick stylist spoiler, the Cuban southpaw has become a banger with one-punch fight-ending ability. His second round KO of Michael Zerafa in defense of the WBA middleweight title was Lara’s fourth stoppage in his last five fights and his third in less than two full rounds during that span. The loss of some reflexes and foot speed have pushed the 40-year-old into using his skillful positioning and timing to better sit down on his shots and work a power game. With this shift in style and mindset, Lara still has a chance to make some waves at the elite level of a fairly shallow 160 lb. talent pool. Of course, he needs to be more active to do so. This Zerafa win was his first fight in nearly two full years.

– Julio Cesar Martinez-Angelino Cordova had a real “cock fight” vibe to it. Martinez is a bad little guy, but he most definitely needs to be off the once-a-year fight plan. He walked through the best of Cordova like someone who had been just itchin’ to fuck someone up.

– Curmel Moton-Anthony Cuba and Serhii Bohachuk-Brian Mendoza where good action fights for the PBC on Prime free lead-up show. No complaints with these warm-ups at all. Bohachuk and Moton are bad-asses, but Mendoza and Cuba are also bad-asses in their own right and more than welcome to make a reappearance somewhere along the line.

– All in all, this debut PBC on Prime event was a pretty good show with well-made, quality fights throughout the card and the kind of high-end production values that popped into mind when the PBC-Prime alliance was first confirmed. More free, less PPV would be nice, though. I can’t help but get the feeling that this top-to-bottom quality card is going to fall squarely into an “if a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it...” reality. 

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