By Keith Idec
ESPN’s boxing ratings slipped Saturday night from the viewership the network attracted the previous week.
Nielsen Media Research revealed Tuesday that ESPN’s three-bout broadcast Saturday night from Glendale, Arizona, was watched by an average audience of 532,000. Its telecast the prior Saturday night, a two-fight show from Atlantic City on August 18, averaged 686,000 viewers.
The main event Saturday night was a lightweight title fight in which Jose Pedraza defeated Ray Beltran by unanimous decision. Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) was sharp throughout their 12-round bout, dropped Phoenix’s Beltran (35-8-1, 21 KOs, 1 NC) with an uppercut in the 11th round and won by scores of 117-110, 117-110 and 115-112 to take the WBO 135-pound championship from him.
The telecast Saturday night from Gila River Arena also included knockout victories by WBO super bantamweight champ Isaac Dogboe and women’s junior lightweight prospect Mikaela Mayer.
Ghana’s Dogboe (20-0, 14 KOs) knocked out Japan’s Hidenori Otake (31-3-3, 14 KOs) in the first round. The 37-year-old Otake hadn’t been knocked out in his 36-fight, 12-year pro career before Dogboe caught him with a left hook that knocked him down very early into their scheduled 12-round, 122-pound title bout.
Otake got up, but Dogboe continued to hurt him. Referee Chris Flores stepped in to stop the bout 2:18 into it.
Mayer, a 2016 Olympian from Los Angeles, knocked down Edina Kiss in the first round and scored a technical-knockout victory when Hungary’s Kiss (14-8, 8 KOs) decided not to leave her corner for the fourth round.
Below are the average ratings for each of promoter Top Rank’s five shows that aired live on the network this summer:
Date/Site Main Event Viewers
August 25 Jose Pedraza-Ray Beltran 532,000
August 18 Bryant Jennings-Alexander Dimitrenko 686,000
July 14 Regis Prograis-Juan Jose Velasco 518,000
July 7 Egidijus Kavaliauskas-Juan Abreu 534,000
June 30 Gilberto Ramirez-Alexis Angulo 632,000
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.