By Keith Idec
Fewer viewers watched the show that featured Gilberto Ramirez’s super middleweight title defense Saturday night than tuned in for the previous ESPN broadcast he headlined.
According to ratings revealed Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, an average audience of 632,000 watched the telecast Saturday night in which Ramirez beat Alexis Angulo in the main event. Ramirez’s prior performance on ESPN, a sixth-round stoppage of Habib Ahmed, drew an average viewership of 741,000 on February 3 from Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Mexican southpaw conquered Colombia’s Angulo (23-1, 20 KOs) by unanimous decision Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The hard-hitting Angulo appeared to hurt Ramirez in the third and seventh rounds, but Ramirez won by huge margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 119-109, 119-109).
His win marked the fourth defense of the WBO super middleweight title for the 27-year-old Ramirez (38-0, 25 KOs).
The opener of Saturday night’s broadcast was an action-packed slugfest between Alex Saucedo and Lenny Zappavigna that warrants “Fight of the Year” consideration.
Oklahoma City’s Saucedo dropped Zappavigna in the third round, but Zappavigna came back to nearly knock out Saucedo in a fourth round Zappavigna spent knocking Saucedo around the ring. A resilient Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) withstood that serious trouble to stop Zappavigna in the seventh round of a bloody, brutal battle.
Zappavigna, 30, bled badly from cuts around both eyes and his left eye was completely swollen shut when his trainer stepped up on the ring apron in the seventh round to stop him from taking more punishment. Australia’s Zappavigna (37-4, 27 KOs) announced his retirement following the third knockout defeat of his career.
The 24-year-old Saucedo secured a shot at newly crowned WBO junior welterweight champ Maurice Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs) by beating Zappavigna.
Saturday’s broadcast also included an easy win for super featherweight prospect Robson Conceicao. Brazil’s Conceicao (8-0, 5 KOs), a 2016 Olympic gold medalist, floored Ecuador’s Gavino Guaman (5-3, 1 KO) four times on his way to a third-round, technical-knockout victory in a scheduled six-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.