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Al Haymon to unveil Spike TV series

One week after NBC announced a multiyear deal with powerful adviser and manager Al Haymon that includes the return of boxing to network primetime, Haymon will unveil another television deal with cable network Spike TV on Thursday, multiple sources with knowledge of the series told ESPN.com.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at Spike TV headquarters in Santa Monica, California, although virtually no boxing media has been invited, which is similar to last week's announcement of the NBC series in New York.

In a deal similar to the one with NBC, Haymon, with tens of millions of dollars (some estimate he has as much as a $100 million war chest) from investors backing him, is buying the airtime to present bouts under the banner of his "Premier Boxing Champions" series, same as the NBC shows, as he continues his quest to change the landscape of the boxing business.

The first of multiple Spike TV cards -- the number of shows is unclear -- will take place March 13 at a location to be announced, the sources said.

The first card is slated to be headlined by former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto (29-3, 22 KOs) squaring off with fringe contender Josesito Lopez (33-6, 19 KOs). A bout between former welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 KOs) and Roberto Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) is being planned as the co-feature. The level of the bouts on the first Spike card is a bit less than the what was announced for the first two NBC cards but they still appear to be competitive, exciting fights on paper.

The Spike cards will air on Friday nights and compete with ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."

Berto rebounded from back-to-back losses to Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass -- and subsequent shoulder surgery because of an injury suffered against Soto Karass -- to outpoint Steve Upsher in September.

Lopez earned the nickname "The Riverside Rocky" -- he's from Riverside, California -- after his ninth-round knockout of former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz in a major upset in 2012. He parlayed that win into a big money fight with then-junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez and got knocked out by the much bigger man in the fifth round. A sixth-round knockout loss to Marcos Maidana followed, but Lopez is riding a three-fight winning streak since against lesser opposition.

Porter is coming off losing his world title by decision to England's Kell Brook in August. Since a decision loss to former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito in 2010, Garcia has won eight fights in a row.

Haymon, who manages or advises more than 150 fighters, is not a licensed promoter, so the cards will be promoted by the companies he works closely with, including Warriors Boxing, Goossen Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.

Nobody from Haymon's organization was available for comment. Some of the fighters and members of their teams declined comment. A spokesman from Spike TV also declined to comment.

Haymon's NBC deal calls for 20 shows this year, including five cards on NBC on Saturday nights, six on NBC on Saturday afternoons and the remaining nine in prime time on NBC Sports Network.

The NBC series will kick off March 7 in NBC primetime at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with welterweight titlist Keith Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) facing former two-division titleholder Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs) and former three-division titleholder Adrien Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) facing John Molina (27-5, 22 KOs) in the junior welterweight co-feature.

The second card, slated for April 11 at an East Coast site to be determined and also on NBC in primetime, will pit junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) against titleholder Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs) in a nontitle bout at 143 pounds.