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Santa Cruz-Mares most watched fight on ESPN in 17 years

Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares brought both the action and the fans over the weekend, drawing the most viewers for an ESPN fight since 1998.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

ESPN's third installment of Premier Boxing Champions, headlined by Santa Cruz-Mares, did the highest ratings for a boxing match on the network since Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson fought Arthur Johnson in February 1998. The two-hour show averaged 1.217M viewers, peaking at 1.641M between 12-12:15am. The average viewership is an increase of about 30% from the previous two PBC on ESPN cards. If this is indicative of anything it's that good fights will draw good audiences.

ESPN also aired a Spanish-language broadcast of the fight on ESPN Deportes which averaged 355,000 Hispanic viewers, peaking at 453,000. That was enough to make it the most watched fight on ESPN Deportes ever.

All ratings information were released by Nielsen.

ESPN dubbed Santa Cruz-Mares an "instant classic" and aired a replay of the fight last night. Al Haymon can take note that if he really wants to bring in the advertising dollars for his boxing series, he needs to keep the good fights coming.

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