Not quite as many viewers watched Jeison Rosario stun Julian Williams on Saturday night as saw Williams upset Jarrett Hurd to win three 154-pound titles eight months earlier.
Nielsen Media Research figures released Wednesday indicated an average audience of 1,536,000 watched Rosario stop Williams in the fifth round of a main event FOX aired from Williams’ hometown of Philadelphia. A peak audience of 1,565,000 tuned in to see Rosario beat Williams, who was consistently listed as at least a 30-1 favorite to win their scheduled 12-round fight for the IBF, IBO and WBA junior middleweight championships.
Rosario-Williams headlined a three-bout broadcast that was watched by an average of 1,408,000 viewers combined on FOX, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports’ streaming service.
Williams’ win against Jarrett Hurd, a “Fight of the Year” candidate in 2019, attracted a peak audience of 2,108,000 for FOX on May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia. An average of 1,385,000 watched that three-fight telecast.
Hurd-Williams was considered beforehand, however, a more compelling, competitive fight than Williams-Rosario.
The previous main event FOX aired, a highly anticipated 154-pound championship rematch between Jermell Charlo and Tony Harrison, peaked at 2,233,000 viewers and averaged 2,223,000. Houston’s Charlo knocked out Detroit’s Harrison in the 11th round of that December 21 fight at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, to avenge his 12-round, unanimous-decision loss to Harrison a year earlier and regained the WBC super welterweight title.
Williams, meanwhile, picked the Dominican Republic’s Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) as an optional opponent for Williams’ first fight in Philadelphia in more than eight years.
Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) was behind on two of the three scorecards (37-39, 37-39, 38-38) and had suffered a cut on his left eyelid by the time Rosario stopped him in the fifth round.
A right-left combination by Rosario rocked Williams about 50 seconds into the fifth round. Williams went to the canvas eventually, but referee Benjy Esteves ruled that Rosario pushed him down.
Once Williams was back on his feet, Rosario drilled Williams with a right uppercut and a left hook that caused Esteves to step in and stop the action at 1:37 of the fifth round.
FOX’s broadcast Saturday also included victories by Chris Colbert and Joey Spencer.
Brooklyn’s Colbert (14-0, 5 KOs) convincingly out-boxed Panama’s Jezreel Corrales (23-4, 9 KOs, 1 NC) to win a 12-round unanimous decision and the then-vacant WBA interim 130-pound championship. Spencer (10-0, 7 KOs), of Linden, Michigan, defeated Erik Spring (13-4-2, 1 KO) by unanimous decision in a six-round middleweight match that opened FOX’s telecast from Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.