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May 21, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; David Benavidez (red trunks) and David Lemieux (black trunks) box during their Interim WBC World Super Middleweight Championship boxing match during a Premier Boxing Champions card at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix area has, over the past couple of years, become a hotbed for live combat sports events and a destination for Showtime, the leading cable network for big-name boxing cards.

Local fight fans have been treated to a pair of Showtime cards headlined by Phoenix native David Benavidez, who won the WBC interim super middleweight championship at was is now Desert Diamond Arena in May, plus Bellator 273 featuring local resident and current heavyweight champion Ryan Bader at Footprint Center in January on Showtime.

In November 2021, Benavidez and older brother José Jr. were on the same fight card on Showtime at Footprint Center, and there have been two major UFC events that packed their respective local venues, UFC 263 in June 2021 and UFC 274 in May 2022, both pay-per-views produced by that company.

Next week, former YouTube sensation-turned pro fighter Jake Paul faces former mixed martial arts star Anderson Silva at Glendale’s Desert Diamond Arena. The fight and an undercard featuring former NFL running back Le’Veon Bell in a boxing match will air on Showtime Pay-Per-View.

Jake Paul trains for his upcoming fight in Arizona in Dorado, Puerto Rico.

Since Paul draws a younger crowd, Showtime is counting on some fans who know him from social media and YouTube and who have never seen him fight and might be curious. Showtime worked with Paul’s promotion company, Most Valuable Promotions, to select the Phoenix area for the fight, then went with the Glendale facility because Footprint Center is booked next Friday and Sunday for Phoenix Suns home games.



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