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TV Numbers: Berto-Ortiz Does 1.5 Million Viewers on HBO

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Dan Rafael of ESPN tweeted the news earlier on a big rating for Saturday's HBO fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz:


This is good news. Cotto-Foreman had a few basic advantages. For one thing, Miguel Cotto is one of the biggest stars and biggest draws in the sport. It was a far more hyped fight not only because of that, but because it was the first fight at the new Yankee Stadium, and the first fight at anything called Yankee Stadium in about 30 years. It was a media creation (since the fight itself wasn't all that good, on paper or in execution). Yuri Foreman's colorful story may have helped a bit, but I hesitate to assume Foreman had much to do with the draw, either live or on TV.

Berto-Ortiz is another story. Berto has been constantly criticized for having basically no fanbase, and it's true he can't draw at the gate. He can't draw anywhere at the gate, in fact. Not at home in Florida, not on the road elsewhere. And the Foxwoods crowd was hardly amazing in numbers on Saturday.

But the TV rating is very, very good. And what's better is that those 1.5 million saw a really fun, really entertaining fight that they'll remember, and that a lot of folks were talking about all night and even into this week. They saw a couple of young fighters, both of whom looked in good shape, both of whom fought hard, both of whom recovered from knockdowns (twice each). They saw Ortiz's real coming out party, too, and for a Mexican-American kid who loves to smile on camera, that's no little thing. Part of the reason Golden Boy hyped Ortiz so hard was because he has talent. Part of it is because a good-looking Mexican-American with a personality can be a license to print money. There's this Oscar dude in the company who knows a thing or two about that. Oscar backed it in the ring. Ortiz finally did the same.

So good news for boxing that not only are the great fights coming every weekend this month, with no reason to expect that to stop this weekend, but that people are seeing it happen.

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