Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in Saturday night to watch ESPN’s broadcast of Emanuel Navarrete’s sixth-round knockout of Eduardo Baez.
Nielsen Media Research released figures Tuesday that showed an average of 485,000 viewers watched ESPN’s main event from Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Viewership for the Navarrete-Baez bout peaked at 494,000.
Those totals only include viewers that watched ESPN’s linear broadcast, not viewers who saw the show on ESPN Deportes or on ESPN+, the network’s streaming service. Viewership for the tripleheader ESPN televised Saturday night was lower than usual, but Showtime televised live boxing at the same time Saturday night and viewership of both shows were impacted by a high-profile UFC pay-per-view event, in which former welterweight champ Kamaru Usman was knocked out in the sixth round by Leon Edwards.
An average of 434,000 viewers watched ESPN’s entire two-hour, four-minute boxing broadcast.
ESPN’s co-feature, Giovani Santillan-Julio Avila, drew an average audience of 435,000 and a peak audience of 448,000. Santillan (30-0, 16 KOs), a welterweight from San Diego, overcame two cuts from accidental clashes of heads to shut out Mexico’s Avila (19-1-2, 10 KOs) on two scorecards (100-90, 100-90, 96-94).
The opener of ESPN’s tripleheader, Nico Ali Walsh’s second-round knockout of Reyes Sanchez, was watched by an average of 416,000 viewers and a peak audience of 424,000. Las Vegas’ Walsh (6-0, 5 KOs), a grandson of Muhammad Ali, knocked out Sanchez (7-3, 3 KOs), of Topeka, Kansas, in a middleweight rematch of a four-round fight Ali Walsh won by majority decision last December 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Mexico’s Navarrete (36-1, 30 KOs) was behind on two scorecards when the WBO featherweight champion’s left hand to Baez’s body abruptly ended their scheduled 12-round, 126-pound championship bout at 1:05 of the sixth round. Mexico’s Baez (21-3-2, 7 KOs) lost by knockout for the first time in his nine-year, 26-fight pro career.
Nielsen also noted Tuesday that an average of 226,000 viewers watched Showtime’s main event Saturday night.
The peak audience for Sergey Lipinets’ technical knockout of Omar Figueroa Jr. was 236,000. Kazakhstan’s Lipinets (17-2-1, 13 KOs) dropped Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs) in the second round of their 12-round, 140-pound bout and dominated him thereafter, until Omar Figueroa Sr., who trained his son, stopped the action after the eighth round at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Showtime’s viewership totals don’t include those that watched on the premium cable channel’s digital platforms, either.
Lipinets replaced Figueroa’s higher-profile, original opponent, Adrien Broner, on only five days’ notice. Broner, who was supposed to fight for the first time in 18 months, withdrew from the Figueroa fight August 15 to deal with his mental health issues.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.