By Keith Idec
Terence Crawford’s domination of John Molina Jr. was the most-watched of six bouts broadcast by HBO and Showtime on Saturday, either live or on delay.
Crawford-Molina peaked at 871,000 viewers and averaged 806,000 viewers, according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research on Tuesday. The Crawford-Molina match mostly went head-to-head with Showtime’s offering of the Abner Mares-Jesus Cuellar featherweight title fight, which peaked at 327,000 viewers and averaged 368,000.
Crawford (30-0, 20 KOs) picked apart the overmatched Molina (29-7, 23 KOs) until he knocked him out in the eighth round of a “World Championship Boxing” main event from CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
The card headlined by Crawford-Molina also drew a crowd of 11,270, bigger than the crowds that assembled for Crawford’s first three fights at the downtown arena in his hometown.
The co-feature of HBO’s broadcast, a mostly one-sided bout between veteran lightweight contender Ray Beltran and Mason Menard, maintained an average viewership of 636,000 and peaked at 751,000 viewers.
Phoenix’s Beltran (32-7-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC) dropped Menard (32-2, 24 KOs), of Rayne, Louisiana, with a counter left hook early in the seventh round. Menard managed to get to his feet, but referee Mark Nelson stopped the fight at 51 seconds of that round.
HBO’s telecast opened at 9:35 p.m. ET with a delayed telecast of Joseph Parker’s heavyweight title victory over Andy Ruiz.
Parker (22-0, 18 KOs), an emerging star from New Zealand, defeated Ruiz (29-1, 19 KOs), of Imperial, California, by majority decision in their 12-rounder at Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Judges credited Parker with winning by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114.
Their fight was tactical and mostly uneventful. It took place mostly between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. ET in the United States.
Despite that fans knew the result, and that Parker-Ruiz didn’t exactly enthrall the masses, it drew an average of 521,000 viewers. Parker-Ruiz also peaked at 585,000 viewers.
Parker, an Auckland native, won the WBO world heavyweight title England’s Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) gave up in mid-October to focus on his recovery from alcoholism, drug addiction and depression.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.