By: Hans Themistode
The sport of boxing may have been absent of live shows for more than three months due to COVID-19, but it is becoming painfully obvious that it was not missed.
With new protocols ensuring fighter safety, boxing made it’s return from its COVID-19 induced hiatus this past Tuesday night. The Top Rank promoted card was headlined by WBO Featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson as he took on the unknown Felix Caraballo. Stevenson’s one sided beating of his opponent was the theme of the night as the grotesque mismatches did not produce one competitive fight on the night.
Fans who were looking to add a bit of pugilistic violence to their evening, were disappointed in the nonexistent action along with the lack of name recognition and the TV ratings showed it.
On average, 397,000 viewers tuned in to watch the card play out. The numbers did spike up to 609,000 roughly around the main event. Those who watched from the comforts of their home saw Stevenson pound Caraballo, who also works at a supermarket warehouse, through six rounds before stopping him with a left hand to the body.
Stevenson vs Caraballo was heavily promoted, but without any recognizable names outside of Stevenson, the fans failed to support it. Still, it was only the first show back from its suspension and there would be another bite at the TV apple two days later.
Former Super Bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno stepped into the spotlight this past Thursday night as he took on Yenifel Vicente.
In comparison to Tuesday’s card, the action was night and day. The event started off with what could turn out to be a fight of the year candidate as Adam Lopez took home a majority decision over Luis Coria. The rest of the card, including the main event, was somewhat competitive. Magdaleno knocked his man down twice in the first and fifth rounds of the main event, only to see himself on the canvas due to several low blows. The foul riddled contest ended in the tenth and final round as referee Robert Byrd disqualified Vicente.
Even with better action this time around, it did nothing to peak the interest of fans. TV ratings were considerably lower juxtaposed to Tuesday’s event. An average of 311,000 viewers tuned in, while the number peaked at 392,000.
The numbers are grim, but Top Rank will receive several chances to entice the public to tune into their events. They have recently announced that they will host at least two events per week for the reminder of the summer. Next up on the calendar will be June 16th, as Bantamweight contender Joshua Greer Jr. (22-1-1, 12 KOs) takes on Mike Plania (23-1, 12 KOs) in the main event on ESPN.