By Keith Idec
Adrien Broner didn’t deliver the victory he predicted, but he helped generate good ratings again for Showtime on Saturday night.
Broner’s 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Mikey Garcia drew Showtime’s biggest audience for a live boxing match in 2½ years. According to ratings released by Nielsen Media Research on Tuesday, the Garcia-Broner bout peaked at 937,000 viewers and attracted an average audience of 881,000 viewers.
Those ratings made Garcia-Broner the most-watched fight on Showtime since Deontay Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne to win the WBC heavyweight championship in January 2015. Wilder’s 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Stiverne in Las Vegas drew a peak audience of 1.34 million viewers and an average of 1.24 million.
This decisive defeat to Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) was the third such loss for Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in 3½ years to a top opponent, but the polarizing Cincinnati native continues to draw noteworthy ratings.
The second most-watched Showtime fight since Wilder-Stiverne was Broner’s split-decision win against Adrian Granados on February 18 in Cincinnati. The Broner-Granados fight drew a peak viewership of 859,000 and an average audience of 779,000.
Broner-Granados aired as part of one of Showtime’s free preview weekends, but Nielsen’s ratings don’t include non-subscribers who watched the fight. Nielsen doesn’t track ratings for non-subscribers.
On Saturday night, viewership went way up once the 140-pound main event between Garcia and Broner began at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The opener of this “Showtime Championship Boxing” doubleheader, Jermall Charlo’s technical knockout victory over Sebastian Heiland, peaked at 542,000 viewers and averaged 500,000.
Houston’s Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) dropped Argentina’s Heiland (29-5-2, 16 KOs) once apiece in the second and fourth rounds. Their fight was stopped in the fourth round because Heiland, a southpaw who admitted that he entered the ring with an injury to his left knee, couldn’t keep his balance after getting up from the second knockdown.
The emerging Charlo’s win in his full-fledged middleweight debut made him the WBC’s mandatory challenger for its 160-pound champion, Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.