An average of nearly 1 million viewers watched FOX’s two-bout broadcast Saturday night before Premier Boxing Champions moved the remainder of the Keith Thurman-Mario Barrios undercard to the network’s pay-per-view platform.
Nielsen Media Research reported this week that the two Thurman-Barrios undercard bouts that aired on free TV attracted an average audience of 963,000 viewers, a solid showing despite strong competition from the 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC. That represented an increase of 32 percent in viewership from FOX’s prelim bouts January 1 prior to the pay-per-view portion of the Luis Ortiz-Charles Martin card, which drew an average of 730,000 viewers.
Viewership peaked Saturday night at 1,076,000 during the second of two fights FOX aired, Lucas Santamaria’s upset of heavily favored Abel Ramos in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Both bouts FOX broadcast Saturday night were very competitive. The first of those two fights – Omar Juarez’s 10-round, split-decision victory over Ryan Karl – was one of the most entertaining of the 11 fights on PBC’s card Saturday at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Juarez started fast, fended off the determined Karl’s rally and won their 10-round welterweight bout by split decision.
Judges Glenn Feldman (95-94) and Chris Migliore (96-93) scored their back-and-forth fight for Juarez, who had a point deducted during the seventh round by referee Mike Ortega for hitting Karl with his forearm. Judge Steve Weisfeld scored their fan-friendly fight for Karl, 95-94.
Feldman and Migliore respectively scored six and seven rounds for Juarez. Weisfeld credited Juarez and Karl for winning five rounds apiece, but the aforementioned point deduction was the difference for Karl on his card.
The 22-year-old Juarez, of Brownsville, Texas, improved to 13-1 (5 KOs).
Karl (19-4, 12 KOs), a 30-year-old native of Milano, Texas, lost for the second time in his past three fights. Two fights earlier, Barrios knocked him out in the sixth round of what had been a competitive, entertaining encounter in October 2020 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Santamaria, meanwhile, withstood some troublesome moments early in his fight with Ramos to pull off an upset against an established 147-pound contender.
Santamaria (13-2-1, 7 KOs), of Garden Grove, California, recorded the most noteworthy win of his six-year pro career. He replaced Ramos’ original opponent, Josesito Lopez, on less than two weeks’ notice once Lopez contracted COVID-19.
Santamaria mounted a rally during the second half of a fight he won on all three scorecards.
Judges Dave Moretti and Patricia Morse Jarman both scored Santamaria a 96-94 winner versus the more aggressive, accurate Ramos. Judge Lisa Giampa somehow scored eight of the 10 rounds for Santamaria, who won 98-92 on her card, despite that their fight was much more competitive than how she saw it.
The 30-year-old Ramos, of Casa Grande, Arizona, slipped to 27-5-2 (21 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.