Despite gaining some major momentum from a successful television run in the past seven months, Top Rank and ESPN got off to a rough start with their first boxing card of 2018.
According to Showbuzz Daily, the February 3 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card from Corpus Christi averaged about 741,000 viewers for the main event. The show was headlined by Gilberto Ramirez's WBO super middleweight title defense against Habib Ahmed and Jerwin Ancajas vs. Israel Gonzalez for the IBF super flyweight title served as the co-main event.
The fight was technically a big jump from their last Top Rank Boxing card, Jeff Horn vs. Gary Corcoran, which did about 282,000 viewers on December 13. That fight actually took place in Australia on a weekday morning in the U.S. so the low rating was expected.
The last time Top Rank had a live ESPN telecast on primetime was Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux at Madison Square Garden on December 9, which averaged around 1.73 million viewers. That means the February 3 card had a 57.2 percent drop in viewership when comparing to the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight.
HBO and Showtime already have their first big boxing cards of 2018 and their viewership were not far behind ESPN's. The January 20 Showtime Champion Boxing card averaged around 637,000 viewers for the main event and the January 27 HBO Boxing After Dark card averaged 719,000 viewers. ESPN wasn't even the big winner of the night when it came to combat sports. UFC Belem, with Lyoto Machida picking up a win in the main event, averaged 839,000 viewers for the main event.