Boxing: Santa Cruz vs. Mares Draws ESPN’s Best Boxing Ratings Since 1998

By Mike Sloan Sep 2, 2015
Photo: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions

Most in the boxing world expected Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares to deliver inside the ring on Aug. 29. What wasn’t as certain was how well the featherweight tilt would fare in terms of viewership.

As it turns out, Santa Cruz and Mares produced a fight that generated more viewers to host network ESPN than any other bout in almost 20 years.

Premier Boxing Champions’ latest “PBC on ESPN” installment was a smashing success with viewers, allowing ESPN to rake in an average of 1.2 million viewers. According to Nielsen, the telecast peaked between midnight and 12:15 a.m. ET with 1,641,000 viewers, the highest number of households tuning into a boxing event on ESPN since February 1998, when Marc “Too Sharp” Johnson knocked out Arthur Johnson in the first round.

Santa Cruz edged Mares via majority decision in the 12-round contest.

According to reports, the Santa Cruz-Mares skirmish brought in numbers that were 30 percent higher than the previous two “PBC on ESPN” telecasts. It was also the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast ever on ESPN Deportes.

ESPN Classic will re-air the fight Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT as an “Instant Classic.” ESPN Deportes will re-air the entire card on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.


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