By Jake Donovan
Gennady Golovkin’s three-round destruction of former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale drew huge accolades among the media and fans alike, but the overall show proved to be a huge dropoff in terms of cementing his star power.
The July 26 show, which aired live on HBO from Madison Square Garden in New York City, pulled in an average of 758,000 live viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. When factoring in DVR first-time viewings, the show crept closer to 1 million viewers (984,000, with a peak audience of 1.048 million), but became the first major fight for HBO to fail to hit the ‘two-comma’ mark since late January.
The televised co-feature saw Bryant Jennings earn a split decision over Mike Perez in an awkward 12-round battle between unbeaten heavyweights. Their bout drew a dismal 602,000 live viewers, and 714,000 viewers when factoring in DVR first-time viewings, peaking at 780,000 viewers.
The ratings result is a massive decline from Golovkin’s last appearance on HBO. The unbeaten middleweight knockout artist from Kazakhstan scored the third highest-rated event of any cable-televised boxing event in 2013, when his 8th round stoppage of Curtis Stevens drew more than 1.4 million viewers last November.
Golovkin’s win over Geale marked as his first stateside fight on the year, with his lone ring appearance on the year taking place overseas in Monte Carlo, which aired in virtually every other country around the world except the United States. The streaking middleweight titlist was due to return to the ring in April, but was forced to withdraw due to the untimely passing of his father.
Last weekend’s headliner was Golovkin’s debut in the main room at Madison Square Garden, following three appearances in the venue’s accompanying Theatre in 2013. A respectable crowd of more than 8,500 fans filed in for the building’s first major show since Miguel Cotto–who has sold more tickets at Madison Square Garden than any other fighter in the 21st Century–scored a historic 9th round knockout of Sergio Martinez to claim the lineal middleweight championship in June.
With the eye-catching performance by Golovkin last weekend, fans have naturally clamored for a head-on collision with Cotto. Many consider such a matchup to be between the true middleweight champ (Cotto) and the best middleweight in the world (Golovkin).
Golovkin (30-0, 27KOs) has now scored knockouts in 17 straight fights, along with racking up the 11th defense of his alphabet middleweight title.
The July 26 card was HBO’s first offering since Terence Crawford’s thrilling 9th round knockout of Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, which previously served as the second most-watched cable fight of 2014.
HBO’s next offering comes this Saturday, when Sergey Kovalev makes his second headlining appearance on the network. The unbeaten light heavyweight titlist–whose in-ring ferocity, like Golovkin, has made him a cult favorite–faces unbeaten Blake Caparrelo in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The bout serves as the final leg of a split site tripleheader, with the rest of the show airing live from The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Brandon Rios faces Diego Chaves (pending visa approval) and Jessie Vargas defending his 140 lb. belt versus Anton Novikov in a matchup of unbeaten super lightweights.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox