By Keith Idec
Fighting a late replacement on a Sunday night didn’t dramatically impact viewership for Jermell Charlo’s win over Jorge Cota on network television.
Nielsen Media Research revealed Tuesday that an average audience of 1,832,000 tuned in to watch Charlo’s brutal, third-round knockout of Cota from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Viewership for the Charlo-Cota main event was substantially higher than the average audience for a three-bout broadcast that lasted about two hours and 15 minutes (1,200,000).
In all, an average of 1,265,000 combined viewers watched this tripleheader Sunday night on FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports’ streaming services.
The Charlo-Cota viewership wasn’t much lower than for the main event of FOX’s previous boxing broadcast. That bout – a “Fight of the Year” candidate in which Julian Williams upset Jarrett Hurd by unanimous decision to win three 154-pound titles – drew a peak viewership of 2,108,000 on May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
An average audience of 1,385,000 watched the three-fight telecast headlined by Williams-Hurd, which aired on a Saturday night.
Houston’s Charlo (32-1, 16 KOs) was supposed to face Tony Harrison in an immediate rematch Sunday night, six months after Harrison upset Charlo by unanimous decision and took his WBC super welterweight title. Detroit’s Harrison (28-2, 21 KOs) withdrew from their second fight three weeks in advance, though, because he suffered an ankle injury that required surgery.
Charlo knocked down Mexico’s Cota (28-4, 25 KOs) twice, each time with a punishing right hand, before referee Jay Nady stopped their scheduled 12-round bout.
Earlier Sunday night, an average of 1,030,000 viewers watched an entertaining fight in which former WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux knocked out Julio Ceja in the eighth round. The Cuban-born Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KOs) was down on all three scorecards when he dropped Mexico’s Ceja (32-4, 28 KOs) in the eighth round and referee Russell Mora stopped their scheduled 12-round, 122-pound WBC elimination match.
In between the Charlo-Cota and Rigondeaux-Ceja bouts, an average of 1,187,000 viewers tuned in to watch 19-year-old junior middleweight prospect Joey Spencer (8-0, 6 KOs) out-point Akeem Black (5-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.