By Keith Idec
The controversial draw between Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz was by far the most-watched televised boxing match in the United States over the weekend.
According to ratings released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research, their 12-round majority draw, which FOX aired as the main event of a three-bout broadcast Saturday night, attracted a peak audience of 1,530,000. The entire telecast averaged 1,136,000 viewers for FOX.
The peak audience for Alexander-Ortiz was nearly three times as high as the peak viewership for Showtime’s main event between Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios (558,000) on Saturday night from Las Vegas.
As a channel available in every American home with a television, FOX has a huge ratings advantage over Showtime because it is offered in almost 120 million homes. Showtime, a premium cable channel, has approximately 24 million subscribers.
Alexander-Ortiz also aired in prime time on the East Coast. The Garcia-Rios fight didn’t begin until nearly 12:25 a.m. ET early Sunday morning.
Beyond its boxing competition Saturday night, this FOX telecast drew significantly better ratings than a FOX boxing offering last summer.
The main event of that broadcast – Omar Figueroa Jr.’s five-knockdown, third-round stoppage of Robert Guerrero – drew a peak viewership of 1,039,000. An average of 886,000 viewers watched the entire FOX show July 15 from Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
Television ratings generally are lower during summer months, however, thus the ratings boost was expected.
What wasn’t expected was the dubious result of the Alexander-Ortiz welterweight fight. Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) appeared to do more than enough to out-point Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs), but none of the three judges scored their 12-round, 147-pound bout for Alexander.
Judge Don Griffin scored the fight for Ortiz, 115-113. The two other judges, Glen Rick Crocker and Levi Martinez, had it even after 12 rounds (114-114).
FOX’s telecast also included super middleweight Caleb Plant’s points victory over Rogelio Medina. Plant (17-0, 10 KOs), of Ashland City, Tennessee, beat Mexico’s Medina (38-9, 32 KOs) by big margins on all three scorecards over 12 rounds in a largely unremarkable bout (120-108, 119-109, 117-111).
Between the Alexander-Ortiz and Plant-Medina matches, FOX aired undefeated lightweight prospect Karlos Balderas’ win against Jorge Rojas. Balderas (4-0, 3 KOs), a 2016 Olympian from Santa Maria, California, went the distance for the first time in his short career, but won all four rounds against Mexico’s Rojas (4-3-1, 2 KOs) on all three scorecards (40-36, 40-36, 40-36).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.