by David P. Greisman
Andre Ward’s final tune-up fight before his challenge of unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev was watched by an estimated average of 742,000 people this past Saturday, according to a Nielsen ratings chart posted on Show Buzz Daily.
Ward outpointed Alexander Brand in the sole fight of the broadcast. The audience that watched the fight was a significant drop from the estimated average of 1.064 million who saw Ward outpoint Sullivan Barrera in March.
Coverage of the Olympics was dominant on Saturday night, with nearly 21 million people tuning in on average on NBC just between 10 and 11 p.m. Eastern Time. Ward-Brand kicked off around 10:35 p.m.
Nevertheless, Ward-Brand is the sixth most-watched live boxing broadcast on the main HBO channel this year:
1. Gennady Golovkin vs. Dominic Wade, “World Championship Boxing,” April 23, average of 1.325 million viewers
2. Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal II, “World Championship Boxing,” Jan. 30, average of 1.179 million viewers
3. Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera, “World Championship Boxing,” March 26, average of 1.064 million viewers
4. Terence Crawford vs. Henry Lundy, “World Championship Boxing,” Feb. 27, average of 982,000 viewers.
5. Francisco Vargas vs. Orlando Salido, “Boxing After Dark,” June 4, average of 833,000 viewers.
6. Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand, “World Championship Boxing,” Aug. 6, average of 742,000 viewers
7. Luis Ortiz vs. Tony Thompson, “Boxing After Dark,” March 5, average of 740,000 viewers
8. Rocky Martinez vs. Vasyl Lomachenko, “Boxing After Dark,” June 11, average of 585,000 viewers
9. Sergey Kovalev vs. Isaac Chilemba, “World Championship Boxing,” July 11 (a Monday broadcast on tape-delay), average of 355,000 viewers
HBO has aired three pay-per-views so far this year: Manny Pacquiao’s third fight with Timothy Bradley in April; Canelo Alvarez’s knockout of Amir Khan in May; and Terence Crawford’s unanimous decision over Viktor Postol in July.
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]