Erislandy Lara registered one of the quickest knockouts of his career in his most recent bout, though still struggling to resonate with home viewers.
The 38-year-old Cuban export flattened overmatched Thomas ‘Cornflake’ LaManna in the 1st round of their Fox-televised bout, which aired live May 1 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The win for Lara came as part of a three-fight telecast which averaged 636,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research. The show peaked at 726,000 viewers, occurring near the end of a televised swing bout featuring 18-year-old Guadalajara-based lightweight Fernando Angel Molina (6-0, 3KOs) in a six-round shutout win over Prisco Marquez (4-3-1, 1KO).
The aforementioned bout was granted airtime after the televised main event and co-feature both ended in early knockout verdicts. Lara (28-3-3, 16KOs) disposed of LaManna (30-5-1, 12KOs) in just 80 seconds, with a single left hand flattening the New Jersey native to win a vacant secondary version of the WBA middleweight title.
Earlier in the evening, Eduardo Ramirez scored a 3rd round stoppage of Isaac Avelar to win the WBA interim featherweight title.
The telecast preceded a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event, headlined by former unified heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz (34-2, 22KOs) who outpointed three-time title challenger Chris Arreola (38-7-1, 33KOs) over 12 rounds. The Fox show—which aired from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET—had the misfortune of going head-to-head with the most viewed portion of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, which drew a combined 14.5 viewers between linear viewership and live streaming and enjoyed a peak viewership of 15.7 million.
Fox’s ratings do not include viewership figures from other Fox Sports platforms.
Lara has now headlined Fox telecasts for each of his past three fights. Ratings continue to go in the wrong direction, as has the level of opposition. The gifted Cuban southpaw claimed a secondary version of the WBA junior middleweight title following a 2nd round knockout of Ramon Alvarez in Aug. 2019. The telecast averaged 1,171,000 viewers, with the main event peaking at 1,492,000.
The fight was followed by a year-long ring absence for Lara, whose career—like every other boxer—was affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Lara made the first defense of his title last August, outpointing Greg Vendetti over 12 rounds. The August 29 bout averaged 1,042,000 viewers, attracting a peak audience of 1,067,000 viewers. Lara was a 50-1 favorite to beat Vendetti and was a similarly overwhelming favorite to defeat LaManna.
The pair of mismatches rank among the least viewed main events in the five-plus year history of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox. Saturday’s show—which is the series’ lowest-rated primetime telecast—saw a 22% decrease in viewership from the most recent edition of PBC on Fox just two weeks prior. Tony Harrison and Bryant Perrella fought to a 12-round draw atop an April 17 tripleheader which averaged 813,000 viewers, with viewership peaking at 1,125,000 for the main event.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox