LAS VEGAS — Saturday night’s Showtime Championship Boxing coverage, whose main event featured a fifth-round stoppage by WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez over Josesito Lopez, established new ratings records for its overall live viewers, the largest Hispanic audience for an individual bout, and, also, average viewership, the network announced on Tuesday.
The headlining bout, during which 22-year-old Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 knockouts) scored three knockdowns against Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs), attracted 1.04 million viewers for the live telecast, surpassing the Bernard Hopkins’ majority draw with light heavyweight Jean Pascal in December of 2010 for the highest viewership.
In addition, Alvarez-Lopez, contested on Mexican Independence Day weekend, drew the largest Hispanic audience for an individual bout on Showtime, surpassing Brandon Rios’ 10th-round stoppage of Miguel Acosta in February of last year.
“We’ve seen a steady increases in viewership for our marquee championship boxing events throughout the year,” said Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general manager for Showtime Sports.
“It makes perfect sense that the budding star of Canelo Alvarez delivered our best performance thus far. We expect to build on this success with future Canelo fights, and, of course, on the incredible lineup we have planned for Showtime Championship Boxing this fall.”
Alvarez-Lopez produced a gate of $1,618,150 from 12,860 tickets sold, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director, Keith Kizer, and was contested before a sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Although zero tickets went unsold, 1,659 of them were given away on a complimentary basis.
Alvarez earned $2 million to $212.500 for Lopez, and was given a bonus of $100,000 from promoter Golden Boy for coming up with the night’s best knockout.
In an earlier bout, IBF bantamweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 11 KOs) scored a sixth-round TKO over veteran contender Eric Morel (46-4, 23 KOs), who was stopped for the first time in his career.
Also on the undercard, hard-punching Argentine Marcos Maidana (32-3, 29 KOs) scored an eighth-round technical knockout over welterweight rival Jesus Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs), whom he dropped in the seventh round.
In a mild upset, Daniel Ponce de Leon (43-4, 35 KOs) emerged victorious over WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KOs), coming away with an eighth-round unanimous technical decision victory that ended Gonzalez’s 12-fight winning streak that had included 11 knockouts.
Santa Cruz, Maidana and Ponce de Leon were each granted an extra $25,000 to their purses for their efforts, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
“We always promise to deliver the best fight cards top to bottom, and are thrilled that the ‘Knockout Kings’ event did just that and shattered the viewership records on Showtime,” said Schaefer.
“We knew this quadruple-header was going to produce big numbers, and are excited that we not only sold out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but also that we broke records on Showtime.”
Saturday’s fights will replay on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime Extreme, are available anytime at Showtime On Demand through October 15.
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com