Viewership of ESPN’s boxing broadcast Tuesday night was the lowest of the seven weeknight shows since the network began airing the sport again June 9.
Nielsen Media Research numbers released Wednesday indicated an average of 298,000 viewers watched the three-hour, 15-minute telecast. A peak audience of 378,000 tuned in during the main event, Alex Saucedo’s victory over Sonny Fredrickson at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The peak and average audiences for Tuesday’s telecast were only slightly less than the previous lows – 382,000 (peak) and 305,000 (average) for ESPN’s broadcast June 18. The main event of that show, Jose Pedraza-Mikkel LesPierre, was postponed that morning, however, because LesPierre’s manager, Josie Taveras, tested positive for COVID-19.
A lower-profile fight, Gabriel Flores Jr.-Josec Ruiz, replaced Pedraza-LesPierre as the main event on extremely short notice. Flores (18-0, 6 KOs), of Stockton, California, soundly defeated Miami’s Ruiz (21-3-3, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision in a relatively uneventful, 10-round lightweight bout.
Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) and Brooklyn’s LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) made weight again Wednesday for the main event of another ESPN show scheduled for Thursday night at MGM Grand Conference Center (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
On Tuesday night, Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs) convincingly defeated Fredrickson (21-3, 14 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight fight. The 26-year-old Saucedo, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, beat Fredrickson, of Toledo, Ohio, by big margins on all three scorecards (100-90, 99-91, 98-92).
In the co-featured fight Tuesday night, Josue Vargas (17-1, 9 KOs), a southpaw from the Bronx, New York, easily out-boxed Mexican veteran Salvador Brecino (17-6, 11 KOs) and won a unanimous decision in a 10-round junior welterweight fight.
ESPN’s highest viewership since it began broadcasting Top Rank’s cards on Tuesday nights and Thursday nights three weeks ago was produced on its first night back since the COVID-19 pandemic began, June 9. A peak audience of 609,000 and an average of 397,000 viewers tuned in that night for a show that featured WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson (14-0, 8 KOs), who knocked out Felix Caraballo (13-2-2, 9 KOs) with a body shot in the sixth round of a 10-round junior lightweight fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.