By Jake Donovan
As Terence Crawford and his team plead their case to land a showdown with Manny Pacquiao, the latest news surrounding his last fight only strengthens his case.
The unbeaten super lightweight titlist looked sensational in a 10th round stoppage of Dierry Jean this past Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The bout served as the lone live attraction of an HBO-televised tripleheader, with the main event playing to 1.071 million homes, with a peak audience of 1.2 million viewers.
Crawford's latest ratings score saw a 7% increase in viewership from his last bout, in which he claimed the super lightweight title in a 6th round knockout of Thomas Dulorme this past April. Their clash played to just over 1 million hopes, peaking at just under 1.1 million viewers, serving as the opening leg of a split-site doubleheader featuring Lucas Matthysse in a 12-round win over Ruslan Provodnikov.
There was no live supporting cast for this weekend, as Crawford's hometown showcase was paired up with exclusive rebroadcasts of two fights from an Oct. 17 HBO Pay-Per-View telecast: Gennady Golovkin's 8th round stoppage of David Lemieux in their middleweight title unification bout; and World flyweight champ Roman Gonzalez stopping former two-division titlsit Brian Viloria in nine rounds.
The Golovkin-Lemieux replay drew an average 797,000 viewers, peaking at just over 1 million; Gonzalez-Viloria averaged 505,000 viewers, peaking at 685,000. The overall broadcast averaged 795,000 viewers.
All ratings data provided by
Nielsen Media Research.
With the latest peformance, Crawford has proven to be a winner in the ring, at the box-office and on the dial. All three of fights at CenturyLink Center have played to sold-out crowds, and all of which have aired live on HBO.
The win over Jean (29-2, 20KOs) - who was making his HBO-televised debut - produced his second highest-rated performance among his four HBO headliners. His biggest network rating to date came in his first on-air main event, a thrilling 9th round knockout of Yuriorkis Gamboa that also marked his first appearance at CenturyLink Center. With a sold-out crowd and more than 1.2 million viewers tuning in, a rising star was born in Crawford, who was making the first defense of his lightweight title.
Some 16 months later, Crawford is now a two-division champ and a confirmed blockbuster in the Midwest region. Furthermore, his on-air drawing power only enhances his credentials in pleading a case to land what is being offered as the final fight of Pacquiao's Hall-of-Fame career.
The former eight-division champ plans - already a congressman at home in the Philippines - plans to make a run for one of the 12 Senate seats in his home country. Such responsibilities are a full time job, which means - with an election win, which is likely - he would have to sever all ties to the sport that made him a boxing superstar.
A targeted date of April 9 in Las Vegas has been floated, with Crawford more than willing to go nearly six months between ring appearances if it means landing the career-defining opportunity.
Everything about his latest peformance certainly places him as the frontrunner for such an event.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox