Ramirez-Imam Tripleheader Averaged Only 488K Viewers for ESPN

By Keith Idec

Overpowering competition from “March Madness” put a significant dent in ratings for ESPN’s boxing tripleheader Saturday night.

An average of 488,000 viewers watched the telecast headlined by junior welterweights Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam, according to ratings revealed Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The Ramirez-Imam show drew less than half the viewership that ESPN’s doubleheader attracted the previous Saturday night. That broadcast, highlighted by a fantastic featherweight title bout between WBO champ Oscar Valdez and Scott Quigg, was watched by an average audience of roughly 1.1 million viewers.

ramirez-imam-weights (3)

The average rating for the Ramirez-Imam tripleheader was the lowest for any of the nine telecasts since Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. entered an exclusive content agreement with ESPN. The Ramirez-Imam match was entertaining, but it aired at the same time as multiple games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The four NCAA games that directly competed at some point with Top Rank’s tripleheader drew at least an average of 2,439,000 viewers. From highest to lowest, those games were Gonzaga-Ohio State (6,851,000), Michigan-Houston (3,805,000), Texas Tech-Florida (2,845,000) and Kansas-Seton Hall (2,439,000).

In addition to Ramirez (22-0, 16 KOs) beating Imam (21-2, 18 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision for the then-vacant WBC super lightweight title, ESPN’s telecast included two other fights from The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

In the opener of the three-bout broadcast, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) defeated France’s Mehdi Amar (34-6-2, 16 KOs) by 12-round unanimous decision to win the WBC interim light heavyweight title. After Ramirez overcame Imam, ESPN’s tripleheader concluded with Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs) scoring a second-round knockout of Hungary’s David Berna (15-3, 14 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round featherweight fight.

Here are the average ratings for ESPN’s four Top Rank boxing broadcasts in 2018:

February 3: Gilberto Ramirez-Habib Ahmed (main event); 741,000 viewers.

February 16: Ray Beltran-Paulus Moses (main event); 703,000 viewers.

March 10: Oscar Valdez-Scott Quigg (main event); 1,100,000 viewers.

March 17: Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam (main event); 488,000 viewers.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by TheCell8 on 03-21-2018

[QUOTE=bigdunny1;18591827]March Madness excuse leaves out the fact that all the top rank fights this year on ESPN have down weak numbers 700K or lower except the Valdez fight.[/QUOTE] Yea that's why I said it would likely do around 700K like…

Comment by Force Boxing on 03-21-2018

One of the purposes of these fights is to get these young up and coming stars to be PPV numbers are down ESPN is a good idea...yiu can't be well known until they showcase you

Comment by IMDAZED on 03-21-2018

[QUOTE=BWC;18588858]Ratings were very poor, but come one guys, it was March Madness. Which is second only to like the Super Bowl for general interest..[/QUOTE] It still did worse than college wrestling in that same slot.

Comment by bigdunny1 on 03-21-2018

[QUOTE=TheCell8;18589266]Lets get rid of the March Madness factor, the fight likely does only about 700K like all the other ones.[/QUOTE] March Madness excuse leaves out the fact that all the top rank fights this year on ESPN have down weak…

Comment by chimichanga2 on 03-20-2018

I don't have to pay $15 a month for a premium cable network to watch a decent fight. I'll take it.

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