More viewers tuned in for Jason Moloney’s big win in Las Vegas than was the case for the first career loss suffered by his twin brother in the same right two nights earlier.
The June 25 edition of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN averaged 345,000 viewers over the course of the six-fight, three-plus hour telecast according to Nielsen Media Research. Thursday’s show reached a peak audience of 430,000 viewers, coming at the 11:15-11:30pm ET block which coincided with the main event.
Australia’s Moloney (21-1, 18KOs) stopped Mexico’s Leonardo Baez (19-3-2, 7KOs) after seven rounds of entertaining bantamweight action in the evening’s headliner at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The win marked Moloney’s second fight in the United States, though the first win on American soil for anyone in his family. The top-rated bantamweight contender came up just short versus then-unbeaten 118-pound titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez in their October 2018 thriller in Orlando, Florida.
Thursday’s card also saw two rising prospects—Abraham Nova (19-0, 14KOs) and Orlando Gonzalez (15-0, 10KOs) survive stiff challenges to remain unbeaten. Nova—a spectacularly bearded junior lightweight from Albany, New York—enjoyed a strong second half surge to push past Philadelphia’s Avery Sparrow (10-2, 3KOs) via 10-round decision in the evening’s chief support. One fight prior, Gonzalez—a 24-year old featherweight from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico—scored two knockdowns en route to an eight-round decision over Luis Porozo.
For Moloney, family glory was restored two nights after his twin brother Andrew Moloney came up well short in his U.S. debut. Andrew saw his unbeaten record and 115-pound title go in a 12-round defeat to San Antonio’s Joshua Franco, also leaving him with two perforated eardrums and considerable facial cuts and bruises. The bout also headlined an ESPN show, averaging just 310,000 viewers and hitting a peak audience of 390,000 toward the conclusion of the telecast.
ESPN has now presented six shows from Las Vegas behind closed doors along with one from Mexico City, beginning with the series’ June 9 premiere which averaged 397,000 viewers. The June 25 show posted the third-highest rating and the most favorable of the last four telecasts. It also lands above the current seven-event series average of 335,000 viewers.
The summer series heads back to Mexico City on Saturday evening, where 130-pound titlist Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33KOs) moves up to lightweight for a 10-round stay busy fight versus Eleazer Valenzuela (21-13-4, 6KOs). Two nights later, ESPN cameras return to Las Vegas for an intriguing 140-pound showdown between former title challenger Alex Saucedo (29-1, 19KOs) and Sonny Fredrickson (21-2, 14KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox