By Jake Donovan
Things may not have went according to plan for Ruslan Provodnikov in his split decision title loss to Chris Algieri, but the Russian brawler solidified his status as an industry cult favorite.
Ratings for the June 14 title fight in Brooklyn, New York registered at 1.046 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The number is good for the third highest-rated cable TV fight of 2014 and also the highest-rated HBO Boxing After Dark fight of the year to date.
The viewing audience for the evening’s main event peaked at 1.1 million viewers.
The overall broadcast – featuring two live fights and the exclusive rebroadcast of Miguel Cotto’s middleweight championship winning effort over Sergio Martinez – averaged 954,000 viewers over the course of the evening.
Opening the telecast, Demetrius Andrade made the 1st successful defense of his 154 lb. title with a one-sided mercy stoppage of England’s Brian Rose. The bout drew 882,000 viewers, tuning in for the second consecutive HBO appearance for Andrade, who was the first from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Boxing squad to capture a major title.
Before the live action played to viewer’s living rooms, HBO kicked off the evening with Cotto’s aforementioned 10th round stoppage win over Sergio Martinez. The event originally played to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. Pay-per-view numbers have yet to be confirmed, though most signs point towards the June 7 a la carte event performing below expectations.
The exclusive rebroadcast on HBO did its part to assist with the June 14 telecast, with 970,000 viewers tuning in over the course of the nine-plus round affair. Viewership peaked at 1.126 million.
The June 14 broadcast marked Provodnikov’s third straight network appearance, though his first as the A-side of a promotion. His previous two fights on HBO resulted in the 2013 Fight of the Year in a loss to Timothy Bradley last March and a thrilling 10th round knockout of Mike Alvarado in October. Both fights took place in the general vicinity of his opponent’s hometown.
A similar scenario played out last weekend, although there’s an argument to be made that he still served as the crowd favorite at Barclays Center.
The event took place roughly 30 minutes from Brighton Beach, a section of Brooklyn boasting a heavy population of Russian immigrants and Russian-Americans and where the card was aggressively promoted. It is also an hour’s drive from Algieri’s hometown of Huntington (Long Island), New York. The unbeaten boxer reportedly sold $100,000 worth of tickets to hometown fans, continuing a trend of his development as a local attraction over the course of the past couple of years.
Saturday’s feat marked the biggest win of Algieri’s career, also serving as his debut on HBO.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox