By Keith Idec
Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas didn’t draw quite as many viewers for FOX as Keith Thurman and Josesito Lopez attracted for the previous welterweight title fight the network aired.
According to Nielsen Media Research figures released Tuesday, the 12-round bout between Porter and Ugas was watched by an average audience of 2,142,000 viewers Saturday night. Their main event, which Porter won thanks to a questionable split decision, drew a peak audience of 2,197,000 toward the end of their fight for Porter’s WBC welterweight title at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The Thurman-Lopez bout produced an average viewership of 2,480,000 on January 26 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. That 12-rounder, which Thurman won by majority decision, attracted a peak audience of 2,765,000.
Many of those that watched the highly competitive battle between Las Vegas’ Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) and Cuba’s Ugas (23-4, 11 KOs) seemed at least split regarding who won.
Porter won eight rounds on the scorecard of judge Steve Morrow (116-112) and seven rounds according to judge Max DeLuca (115-113). Judge Zachary Young scored nine of the 12 rounds for Ugas (117-111), who claimed he was “robbed.”
Porter-Ugas ranks third among the four main events FOX has aired since it launched its reboot of Al Haymon’s “Premier Boxing Champions” series December 22. The main event that night from Barclays Center, Jermall Charlo’s unanimous-decision defeat of late replacement Matt Korobov in their 12-round middleweight championship match, attracted a peak viewership of 2,421,000.
The lowest-rated FOX main event since December 22 was Leo Santa Cruz’s points victory over Rafael Rivera on February 16. The telecast of their 12-round fight for Santa Cruz’s WBA “super” featherweight crown, which took place at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, peaked at 1,750,000 viewers and averaged 1,671,000.
The two other fights FOX televised before Porter-Ugas drew lower viewership than the main event, as is customary.
An average of 1,282,000 people watched the opener of the three-bout broadcast, in which Nigerian heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba (9-0, 8 KOs) stopped 46-year-old American veteran Amir Mansour (23-4-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) following two one-sided rounds. The second fight of the broadcast, in which welterweight Abel Ramos (24-3-2, 18 KOs) recorded a unanimous-decision win against Francisco Santana (25-7-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-rounder, produced an average of 1,415,000 viewers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.