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Crawford vs. Beltran averages 836,000 viewers on HBO

crawford5222222By Dan Ambrose: Last Saturday night’s fight between WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford and Raymundo Beltran brought in disappointing ratings on HBO “Boxing After Dark” from Omaha, Nebraska. The Crawford-Beltran fight averaged 836,000 viewers with a peak of 936,000 viewers, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. This was below the average of 898,000 for an HBO BAD fight.

While there could be many reasons to explain the lack of interest in the Crawford vs. Beltran fight, such as the late start time, you have to look at the fact that neither of these guys have much of a fan base as of yet in terms of casual boxing fans.

To ask boxing fans to stay up to see the little known Crawford fight someone like Beltran is a bit punch. Personally, I saw the Crawford-Beltran fight as more of an ESPN2 level fight than a main event fight on HBO. Crawford, as good as he is, isn’t well known yet, and he’s not fought anyone with a big enough name to make him a well-known fighter. He recently beat Yuriorkis Gamboa, but we’re still not talking about a big name here.

HBO was literally asking for trouble by having Crawford and Beltran fight in the main event rather than having it as an undercard fight.

Interestingly enough, the co-feature bout between Jayson Velez and Evgeny Gradovich brought in better numbers than the Crawford-Beltran fight. The Gradovich-Velez fight brought in an average of 865,000 viewers with a peak of 1.033 million. That’s not surprising because Velez is a guy that a lot of boxing fans were interested in seeing. Unfortunately, the outcome of the fight was confusing, as Velez appeared to lose the last 7 rounds, and yet he was still given a 12 round draw.

I’m not sure that Crawford will do any better in his next fight on HBO unless he’s matched up against a fighter that casual boxing fans have heard of like Manny Pacquiao. Asking boxing fans to stay up to see a guy that they have never heard of like Crawford is a situation where HBO is simply asking for trouble. It’s putting the card before the horse.

If you want boxing fans to stay up to see a fighter in a main event, you have to make sure that the fans who know who the guy is, and I don’t see a lot of casual boxing fans being familiar with Crawford at this point.

The Crawford-Beltran fight turned out to be a very, very dull fight in my view with Crawford playing it safe and jabbing his way to a decision. There was very little offense from Crawford in the fight, and it was a difficult match to watch unless you’re someone who likes watching defensive fighters.

HBO’s commentators were talking Crawford up all night long, but the fact is the fight was boring to watch in my view. Crawford is one of those guys who needs to be matched up against exciting fighters like Gamboa for him to look good. If you put him in with someone mediocre with slow hands and a cautious fighting style, then he’s not going to shine.

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