More viewers watched Jermall Charlo’s tougher-than-expected victory over Juan Macias Montiel than any boxing match Showtime has televised during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Nielsen Media Research report released Tuesday indicated that an average of 333,000 viewers tuned in for the 12-round main event Showtime televised from Toyota Center in Houston. A peak audience of 379,000 watched toward the end of Charlo’s unanimous-decision win against an awkward, courageous challenger who survived serious trouble in both the fifth and sixth rounds to finish their fight on his feet.

Showtime’s figures include only viewers that watched those fights live on Showtime’s linear channel. ViacomCBS, the parent company of Showtime and, doesn’t release streaming numbers.

Before Saturday night, Showtime’s previous biggest audiences since it began broadcasting boxing August 1 following a 4½-month break caused by the coronavirus crisis were produced February 20. The premium cable network’s main event that night, Adrien Broner’s 12-round, unanimous-decision victory versus Jovanie Santiago, attracted a peak audience of 304,000 and an average audience of 288,000.

Part of the Broner-Santiago fight aired at the same time as ESPN’s main event February 20, Oscar Valdez’s upset of Miguel Berchelt in a WBC 130-pound title fight. Valdez’s 10th-round knockout of Berchelt was watched by an average of 895,000 viewers and drew a peak audience of 960,000.

ESPN’s main event Saturday night, Japanese star Naoya Inoue’s third-round stoppage of IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas in a bantamweight championship match, began approximately 25 minutes after the Charlo-Montiel match ended.

Houston’s Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) was tested more by Mexico’s Montiel (22-5-2, 22 KOs) than oddsmakers anticipated.

Charlo, the WBC middleweight champion, went off as a 30-1 favorite against the fourth-rated challenger for his 160-pound championship. The 31-year-old Charlo couldn’t knock out Montiel, but the two-division champion won by large margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 119-109, 118-109).

Earlier Saturday night, an average audience of 259,000 watched Showtime’s co-feature between Mexican lightweights Isaac Cruz and Francisco Vargas.

Cruz (22-1-1, 15 KOs) battered and bloodied a game Vargas (27-3-2, 19 KOs), who lost their 10-rounder by scores of 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92. A peak audience of 274,000 watched the Cruz-Vargas fight.

Showtime’s 10-round opener Saturday night, which resulted in Angelo Leo’s majority-decision defeat of Aaron Alameda, averaged 141,000 viewers and was watched by a peak audience of 176,000. Albuquerque’s Leo (21-1, 9 KOs), a former WBO junior featherweight champion, defeated Mexico’s Alameda (25-2, 13 KOs) on two scorecards (98-92, 96-94, 95-95).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.