Although Showtime and Premier Boxing Champions have not yet announced their Feb. 13 tripleheader it has already seen major changes.
Former four-division world titlist Adrien Broner, who has not boxed since a one-sided decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in a January 2019 secondary welterweight world title bout, is still due to return in the junior welterweight main event of a card likely to take place inside the bubble of the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
However, Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs), 31, of Cincinnati, will not face Pedro Campa (31-1-1, 21 KOs), 28, of Mexico, as originally planned. Campa is out of the bout because he has tested positive for Covid-19, a source with knowledge of the details told BoxingScene.com.
That has left organizers in search of a new opponent to face Broner. They are in the same situation with former lightweight world titlist Robert Easter Jr., who is also scheduled to be on the card. The unidentified opponent that Easter he was slated to face has also been forced off the show because he too tested positive for Covid-19, the source said.
The other bout on the card, the source said, will be a heavyweight match between former world title challengers Otto Wallin and Dominic Breazeale. Whether the heavyweights will open the telecast or will be in the co-feature slot has not been determined yet, according to the source.
Broner, who has been beset by legal and personal issues in recent years, has made no secret in his social media posts that he needs money to pay off an $830,000 judgment against him after he failed to show up in court to answer a lawsuit filed against him by a woman he sexually assaulted at a Cleveland nightclub in June 2018. Broner previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault and unlawful restraint charge in the criminal case related to the incident.
Broner, who has admitted to having an alcohol problem, is in Miami training for the bout with longtime trainer Mike Stafford alongside Easter as well as lightweight and junior lightweight world titlist Gervonta Davis, who was very complimentary of Broner’s training focus in a recent interview with BoxingScene.com.
“Broner is looking forward to coming back,” Davis said. “He’s trimming down. He’s definitely focused. He’s running every day. He’s looking good in the gym when he spars. I’m looking forward to his comeback.”
Broner, who won belts at junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight, is 0-2-1 in his last three fights, decision losses to Pacquiao two years ago and Mikey Garcia in 2017 and a majority draw with Jessie Vargas in 2018.
Easter (22-1-1, 14 KOs), 29, of Toledo, Ohio, got knocked down and lost his 135-pound world title by lopsided decision to Mikey Garcia in their July 2018 title unification fight. Easter is 1-0-1 since. In a fight for a vacant secondary lightweight title, Easter fought to a draw in a virtually action-free bout against former world titlist Rances Barthelemy in April 2019. Easter followed that dreadful performance by moving up to the junior welterweight division and winning a one-sided 10-round decision over Adrian Granados in October 2019.
Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs), 30, of Sweden, who has a multi-fight deal with Showtime, lost a hard-fought decision to lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in September 2019 and rebounded with a fifth-round knockout of Travis Kauffman in his Showtime debut this past August.
Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs), 35, of Eastvale, California, suffered both of his defeats challenging for world titles. He got knocked out in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua in 2017 in London and suffered a highlight-reel first-round knockout against Deontay Wilder in his most recent fight in May 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Most of Showtime’s boxing cards during the coronavirus pandemic have taken place at the Mohegan Sun Arena but Premier Boxing Champions is “evaluating” other potential sites for the show, according to the source.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com’s senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.