By Keith Idec
ESPN’s viewership figures from Saturday night are reflective of a low-profile doubleheader that aired during a traditionally sluggish month for television ratings.
According to Nielsen Media Research data released Tuesday, an average of 471,000 viewers watched ESPN’s two-bout broadcast from Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. Fewer viewers watched promoter Top Rank’s offering Saturday night than its previous telecast July 13 from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
That broadcast, which featured featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson’s third-round knockout of Alberto Guevara in the main event, averaged 530,000 viewers. ESPN’s other Top Rank broadcast this summer, which featured IBF lightweight champ Richard Commey’s eighth-round knockout of Ray Beltran in the main event June 28 from Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, was watched by an average of 490,000 viewers.
The show headlined by Commey-Beltran aired on a Friday night, whereas the Stevenson-Guevara telecast and its most recent show were televised on Saturday nights.
ESPN is available in approximately 86 million homes in the United States.
The show Saturday night also attracted significantly fewer viewers than a Top Rank telecast that aired on the same weekend the previous August. That broadcast, which featured heavyweight Bryant Jennings’ ninth-round stoppage of Alexander Dimitrenko last August 18 from Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, averaged 686,000 viewers.
Saturday’s show was supposed to match former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo against Jose Benavidez Jr. in the main event. That fight was scrapped last month because Benavidez suffered a leg injury while training.
The Benavidez-Collazo cancelation elevated Emanuel Navarrete into the main event. Mexico’s Navarette (28-1, 24 KOs), the WBO super bantamweight champion, knocked out Francisco De Vaca (20-1, 6 KOs), an unbeaten but unknown challenger from Phoenix, in the third round of their scheduled 12-rounder.
In the opener of Top Rank’s doubleheader, former WBO super bantamweight champ Jessie Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) defeated Rafael Rivera (27-4-2, 18 KOs, 1 NC) by technical decision.
Las Vegas’ Magdaleno couldn’t continue due to a cut over his right eye, the result of an accidental elbow during the ninth round. Magdaleno previously suffered a cut across the bridge of his nose during the fourth round.
Magdaleno, who dropped Rivera with a left hand in the ninth round, was way ahead on all three scorecards when their scheduled 10-round encounter was stopped (89-81, 89-81, 88-82).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.