Once again Mexico proved two things when it comes to the sport of boxing: 1. Boxing can and does thrive on free, national television and 2. The Mexican fight fans are among the very best and most loyal in the world.
Last Saturday’s bout between WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez and Jorge Arce drew phenomenal ratings in Mexico, home country to both fighters. Despite taking the ring at about midnight ET, the fight still draw a 17 rating, which translates into over 28 million viewers on Televisa– the highest rating for boxing this year. (The bout was aired in the United States by beIN Sports Espanol)
The fight also played to a sold out crowd of more than 10,000 at the Centro de Usos Multiples in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Arce’s hometown.
The hard-charging Arce has long been one of Mexico’s most popular fighters, crossing over into movies and TV shows, such as Mexico’s versions of Big Brother and Dancing with the Stars. This fight was considered a stepping stone bout for Gonzalez to also reach that next level of stardom.
Signing the bout cost more money and took more effort than expect because it meant luring Arce from TV Azteca over to hated rival, Televisa, a move Arce was at first reluctant to consider. At some point, the plan was to have both networks air the fight simultaneously, but TV Azteca changed their mind and instead aired a highlight package of Arce’s greatest moments against the live fight.