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Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford score KOs in the ring and in the ratings


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Mikey Garcia (R) scored a TKO of Juan Manuel Lopez and a ratings win for HBO (AP)

Mikey Garcia is one of boxing's bright young stars, and in facing Juan Manuel Lopez on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, he was in a match that promised fireworks.

Thus, it was no surprise that, according to Nielsen Media Research,  Garcia's fourth-round technical knockout win drew 1.3 million viewers to HBO's Boxing After Dark. It was the highest-rated fight on Boxing After Dark in the year.

But what was remarkable, and thus probably more indicative of the surge in interest in boxing in the last 18 months, is the performance of the primary undercard bout, Terence Crawford against Alejandro Sanabria.

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Terence Crawford drew 1.1 million people to see him fight Saturday on HBO (AP)

That fight drew 1.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen. To put that into perspective, it was better than any Showtime fight has done in 2013 and would have been the 13th-most watched boxing match on television in 2012.

That is significant because Crawford remains a little known fighter to the masses. His sixth-round stoppage of Sanabria was only his second appearance on HBO. Sanabria wasn't an elite opponent and the fight didn't get much of a build-up.

It had a great lead-in -- HBO showed the movie, "The Dark Knight Rises" immediately before boxing -- but Crawford was able to maintain a large portion of the audience.

And then, the audience went up by more than 200,000 for Garcia. The UFC preliminaries on FX on Saturday drew a total audience of 968,000.

That is indicative of intense interest in the product and is yet another example of how wrong the "Boxing is dead" crowd is on the topic.

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