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Terence Crawford-John Molina draws solid ratings for HBO

Terence Crawford crushes John Molina on Dec. 10, 2016, in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Fighters Network

Terence Crawford’s eighth-round stoppage of John Molina, which headlined an HBO Championship Boxing telecast from Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, turned out to be the mismatch most boxing fans and media expected it to be.

However, the 140-pound champ’s one-sided drubbing of a woefully over-matched challenger was still the most viewed live boxing match on U.S. television on Saturday, drawing significantly more viewers than the Jesus Cuellar-Abner Mares featherweight showdown – a far more competitive match-up on paper and in the ring – that was televised on Showtime at roughly the same time as Crawford-Molina.

The Crawford-Molina fight, which was preceded by a replay of the Joseph Parker-Andy Ruiz WBO heavyweight title bout and a lightweight co-feature between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard, drew an average of 806,000 viewers (peaking at 871,000 viewers), according to data compiled from Nielsen Media Research.

Cuellar-Mares, which was preceded by an attractive 154-pound bout between IBF titleholder Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams, drew an average of 327,000 viewers (peaking at 377,000), according to data compiled from Nielsen Media Research. Mares beat Cuellar by split decision. Charlo retained his title with an impressive fifth-round stoppage.

Crawford made his first defense of THE RING junior welterweight title, which he earned by outpointing Viktor Postol in a WBO/WBC unification bout in July, against Molina. It was his third fight of 2016 and his fourth appearance at CenturyLink Center in his hometown. Crawford broke the arena’s attendance (11,270) and box office gate records for a boxing event, according to his promoter, Top Rank.