By Keith Idec
Adrien Broner hasn’t been able to win a fight decisively since he stopped Ashley Theophane two years ago.
Broner still won the ratings game yet again Saturday night. Nielsen Media Research revealed Tuesday that Showtime’s telecast of Broner’s majority draw with Jessie Vargas was watched by a peak audience of 891,000 and averaged 782,000 viewers.
That marked the third straight Broner bout that attracted a peak audience of at least 859,000 viewers for Showtime.
The polarizing Broner’s previous fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to Mikey Garcia on July 29 – drew a peak viewership of 937,000 and an average viewership of 881,000. Five months earlier, Broner’s split-decision victory over Adrian Granados also produced strong ratings (peak: 859,000; average: 779,000).
The bout between Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) and Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) was the main event of a tripleheader Saturday night.
Only one fighter, WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder, consistently draws better ratings for Showtime than Broner.
Wilder’s last appearance – a 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Luis Ortiz – was Showtime’s highest-rated fight in more than three years. The broadcast of that highly anticipated bout peaked at 1.2 million viewers and averaged 1.1 million.
That was Showtime’s most-watched boxing match since Wilder beat Bermane Stiverne by unanimous decision to win the WBC title in January 2015 (peak: 1.34 milllion; average: 1.24 million).
Immediately before the main event between Broner and Vargas on Saturday night, a peak audience of 572,000 watched Jermall Charlo knock out Hugo Centeno Jr. in the second round. The Charlo-Centeno contest was watched by an average of 545,000 viewers.
Charlo knocked Centeno flat on his back with a crushing left hook and Centeno couldn’t get up. Houston’s Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) won the WBC interim middleweight title by beating Centeno (26-2, 14 KOs, 1 NC), of Oxnard, California.
The opener of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast – Gervonta Davis’ third-round knockout of Jesus Cuellar – peaked at 527,000 viewers and averaged 460,000. Baltimore’s Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) dropped Argentina’s Cuellar (28-3, 21 KOs) three times on his way to winning the WBA’s “super” 130-pound championship.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story posted noted that the peak viewership during the Broner-Vargas main event was 869,000 viewers. That was the peak audience during the actual bout. Viewership went up to 891,000 just before the decision was announced.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.