David Benavidez’s victory Saturday night drew more viewers than the former super middleweight champion’s previous appearance on Showtime.
Nielsen Media Research reported Tuesday that an average of 230,000 viewers watched Benavidez’s 11th-round, technical-knockout victory over Ronald Ellis. Viewership peaked at 260,000 early in the scheduled 12-round main event between Benavidez and Ellis at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The unbeaten Benavidez’s prior appearance on Showtime – a TKO of Alexis Angulo – drew an average viewership of 188,000. Phoenix’s Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) became the first opponent to stop Colombia’s Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs) when their one-sided bout was halted following the 10th round August 15 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
A peak audience of 245,000 tuned in during Showtime’s co-feature August 15 – lightweight Rolando Romero’s controversial, 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Jackson Marinez.
Viewership recorded by Nielsen includes only those who watch events live on linear television. Nielsen’s statistics don’t account for streaming, which represents a significant number of viewers for Showtime and the premium cable channel’s competing platforms in boxing, most notably ESPN and FOX.
ViacomCBS, the parent company of Showtime and BoxingScene.com, does not regularly release streaming viewership figures.
The heavily favored Benavidez was dominant against Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC), a Lynn, Massachusetts, native who lost by knockout or TKO for the first time in his 10-year pro career. Referee Johnny Callas stopped the action at 2:03 of the 11th round because Benavidez landed numerous unanswered punches on Ellis, who was still standing when their fight ended.
Earlier Saturday night, Showtime’s co-feature – Isaac Cruz’s 12-round, unanimous-decision win over Matias Romero – was watched by an average audience of 191,000. Mexico’s Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs), a lightweight contender, defeated Argentina’s Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) by scores of 118-109, 115-112 and 114-113.
The brief opener of Showtime’s tripleheader – Terrell Gausha’s second-round TKO of Jamontay Clark – drew an average viewership of 168,000.
Gausha (22-2-1, 11 KOs), a Cleveland native who resides in Encino, California, knocked Clark to the canvas with a right hand in the second round. Cincinnati’s Clark (15-2-1, 7 KOs) beat the count, but he didn’t last much longer.
Gausha unloaded on Clark as soon as the action resumed. Referee Arthur Mercante Jr. then determined Clark shouldn’t continue and stepped between them to stop their scheduled 10-rounder at 2:49 of the second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.