by Keith Idec
Gervonta Davis drew the largest viewing audience of his developing career Saturday night.
According to data Nielsen Media Research released Tuesday, Showtime’s broadcast of Davis’ second-round technical knockout of Ricardo Nunez was watched by 594,000 viewers at its peak. Their brief bout drew an average audience of 553,000.
Those figures represented a significant spike in viewership from Davis’ previous performance on Showtime. That fight – a first-round knockout of Hugo Ruiz on February 9 – produced a peak audience of 486,000 and an average audience of 429,000.
The 24-year-old knockout artist from Baltimore was a heavy favorite over Nunez and Ruiz, but neither fight lasted long enough to build much of an audience. Ruiz also was a late replacement for a well-known opponent, Abner Mares, who suffered a detached retina in sparring.
Nevertheless, Davis’ victory over Panama’s Nunez (21-3, 19 KOs), the mandatory challenger for his WBA “super” 130-pound title, produced the second-highest live viewership for a boxing match in what has been a challenging year for Showtime’s boxing brand.
Only Deontay Wilder’s spectacular first-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale drew more viewers for a Showtime fight in 2019.
A combined peak audience of 990,000 watched Wilder-Breazeale live via Showtime’s linear channel and its streaming service. Wilder-Breazeale averaged 886,000 live viewers combined through TV and streaming.
Five of Davis’ past six fights have been broadcast live by Showtime. The other of those six bouts – an eighth-round knockout of Francisco Fonseca – was part of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor broadcast in August 2017.
This was just the second time, though, that Davis (22-0, 21 KOs) headlined a “Showtime Championship Boxing” broadcast. Davis’ victory over Ruiz marked his debut in a Showtime main event.
Davis’ defeat of Nunez also performed well on Showtime’s social media platforms. Clips of his TKO win drew nearly five million views through those platforms by Sunday night.
Prior to the fight, “The Rise,” a three-segment series produced for Showtime’s social media platforms, produced more than 3.5 million views.
Davis-Nunez also attracted a capacity crowd of 14,686 to Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. Davis fought in his hometown for the first time in six years.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.