By Jake Donovan
Juan Manuel Marquez’ dominant win over Mike Alvarado proved to be a huge boost for his legendary career as well as the network on which it aired.
Both ends of HBO’s May 17 televised doubleheader at The Forum in Inglewood, California played to more than 1 million viewers, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The main event, in which Marquez scored a unanimous decision in a fight that saw both fighters hit the canvas, registered 1.198 million viewers, topping out at 1.322 million viewers.
Serving in the lead-in, Viktor Postol scored an 11th round stoppage of Selcuk Aydin in their 140 lb. title elimination bout. With both fighters making their respective debuts on HBO, audiences stayed with the slow-moving bout, with just over 1 million viewers tuning in. The bout picked up steam as it went on, with the audience peaking at 1.137 million viewers and in time to see Postol deliver a highlight reel ending to an otherwise forgettable fight.
Both bouts land in the Top 5 of most viewed bouts on HBO in 2014. Marquez-Alvarado was the second-most viewed fight of the year to date, coming behind Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s rematch win over Bryan Vera this past March, which drew nearly 1.4 million viewers.
Marquez (56-7-1, 40KO) appeared live on HBO’s flagship station for just the second time since 2009. The legendary Mexican has been predominantly on pay-per-view over the past few years, including his previous four bouts. His last live appearance on HBO came in Nov. ’10, when he climbed off of the canvas to stop Michael Katsidis in nine rounds, in a bout that served as his last ever as lineal lightweight king.
Four of the last five bouts for Marquez prior to Saturday played on HBO Pay-Per-View; the lone non-HBO related appearance over that stretch came in July ’11, scoring a 1st round knockout of Likar Ramos in an intended rust-shaker leading up to his third fight with Manny Pacquiao later that year.
Alvarado (34-3, 23KO) has become a staple on HBO in recent years, although not a lot of winning performances have come of his run. The Colorado boxer-puncher has now dropped three of his last four bouts, all of which have aired on HBO. Included among the lot is a pair of Fight of the Year-level wars with Brandon Rios (Oct. ’12) and Ruslan Provodnikov (Oct. ’13), as well a win over Rios in their rematch last March.
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.