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Crawford-Benavidez sets ratings bar for combat sports in 2018

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The ESPN telecast peaked at 2.7M viewers.

Terence Crawford v Jose Benavidez Jr. Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, last weekend’s Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. main event did the highest ratings of any combat sporting event this year. The fight wound up peaking at 2.708 million viewers — well above UFC’s Emmet-Stephens card on FOX which did 2.038M, Proirier-Gaethje which topped out at 2.023M, and boxing’s Wilder-Ortiz card on Showtime that peaked at 1.81M.

I guess those grudge matches still draw attention, even if this particular fight it wasn’t designed to be the most competitive on paper. It probably also helped that the card aired on standard ESPN instead of their premium subscription platform, ESPN+.

Anyway, this is a good sign for Crawford moving forward as he continues to build his brand, fan base, and his fights as must-see attractions.

Crawford, who stopped Benavidez just before the final bell rang, would retain his WBO welterweight world title and at least said that he’s willing to take on the best of the division. With the best of the rest being aligned with Al Haymon and PBC, we’ll just have to wait and see if and when those potential fights ever become realities.