Lomachenko-Rigondeaux has Second-Highest Rating for Boxing on ESPN in 2017
Published: December 16, 2017
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - While last Saturday's bout between Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) ended in disappointing fashion as what was thought to be a technical chess match involving two of the most skilled fighters in the sport turned out to be more of mismatch. Before the bout, the Ukrainian was favored to win due to his advantages in youth, activity, and size. Those factors played a role in Lomachenko's victory but paled in comparison, as he was able to outbox and outclass Rigondeaux for all six rounds. The fight was not close from when it started to its ending.
For promoter Top Rank and Sports Television Network ESPN the fight only disappointed inside the ring. Outside the ring, the match was highly anticipated and secured a sell-out crowd at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Most importantly, the fight delivered in television rating. Lomachenko-Rigondeaux garnered the second highest television ratings on cable for the year 2017. It was only behind former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Australia’s Jeff Horn this past July.
The telecast was able to secure an average rating of 1.73 million viewers not only making the bout the second highest of 2017 but also the second highest since 2012. Earlier this year Top Rank announced a four-year deal with ESPN to broadcast the company’s fights and content. The venture so far has proven to be fruitful for both companies. Lomachenko-Rigondeaux was the most watched fight that took place last Saturday beating out HBO’s telecast of Orlando Salido-Miguel Roman and the UFC’s (Ultimate Fighting Championship) show on Fox Sports One.
The anticipation has already swept over boxing fans in regards as to who will be the next opponent for Lomachenko. The two opponents that have been talked about the most are lightweight champions Jorge Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) and Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs). Both men have fights to start off 2018 in January and February. Linares will face Mercito Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a double-header with Lucas Matthysse. Garcia will be moving up to the 140-pound division to take on recently crowned WBA champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs). Garcia’s history with Top Rank makes it unlikely that a bout between the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and the three-division champion happens anytime soon. A fight with Linares, however, has been talked about with Linares’ promoter Golden Boy and could take place sometime next year.
(Feature Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank)