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Luis Ortiz – Bryant Jennings averages 616K viewers on HBO

(Photo Credit: Alex Menendez – HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions) By Dan Ambrose: WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis Ortiz’s title defense against Bryant Jennings (19-2, 10 KOs) last Saturday night averaged 616,000 viewers on HBO with peak of 735,000 viewers in their fight at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.

It’s not surprising that the Ortiz-Jennings fight failed to bring in terrific ratings because Ortiz isn’t a well-known heavyweight with the casual boxing fans, and Jennings is pretty much in the same boat. The Ortzi-Jennings fight was televised on HBO Boxing After Dark. It was a good back and forth fight that ended in the 7th round with the 36-year-old Ortiz knocking the weaker-punching Jennings down.

Ortiz’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions are counting on him winning a world title in the heavyweight division and then becoming a huge star. It’s still difficult to predict whether Ortiz will be able to fulfill Golden Boy’s expectations, because he’s an older heavyweight and he’s still not being tested against quality fighters yet. We won’t know how good Ortiz is until he gets inside the ring with guys like Alexander Povetkin, Deontay Wilder, Kubrat Pulev, Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam.

The co-feature bout between former WBA featherweight champion Nicholas Walters and Jason Sosa averaged 373,000 viewers on HBO with a peak of 473,000 viewers. The fight was scored as a 10 round draw. The HBO broadcast team seemed to slant their coverage in favor of Walters from the moment the fight started, and it seemed they were mostly commenting on the positive things that he was doing in the fight and ignoring what Sosa did.

I finally had to turn the sound down on my TV set because the pro-Walters talk from the HBO talking heads didn’t jibe with what I was seeing in the actual fight. With the sound turned off, I scored the fight a draw just like the judges did. Walters is a guy that HBO is really high on given his wins in the past when he was fighting in the featherweight division against a lot lighter old guys like Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan. But when Walters had to fight someone his own weight at super featherweight after having moved up to this weight class due to his problems making weight at 126, he did not dominate like he’d been doing against smaller fighters in the featherweight division.

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The only thing I could think of is that Walters was just another one of the many fighters that do well when they have a weight advantage over their opponents, but not so well when facing guys his own weight.

Walters looks like a decent super featherweight, but I have doubts whether he’ll be able to beat the good fighters in the division that hit just as hard as him if not harder like and weigh the same amount as him. Given that Walters couldn’t even beat Sosa, I think he would have a great deal of trouble with solid super featherweights like Orlando Salido. Roman Martinez, Takashi Uchiyama, Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura.

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