By Keith Idec
An average of 454,000 viewers watched the James DeGale-Badou Jack fight Saturday night on Showtime, according to figures released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.
London’s DeGale (23-1-1, 14 KOs) and Sweden’s Jack (20-1-3, 12 KOs) engaged in a closely contested super middleweight championship unification fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Both boxers survived knockdowns – Jack in the first round, DeGale in the 12th round – in a 12-round main event that resulted in a majority draw.
The co-featured fight of Showtime’s doubleheader, Gervonta Davis-Jose Pedraza, was watched by an average of 344,000 viewers. Baltimore’s Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) – a powerful, 22-year-old southpaw – became boxing’s second-youngest current world champion by stopping Puerto Rico’s Pedraza (22-1, 12 KOs) in the seventh round of their scheduled 12-rounder for Pedraza’s IBF super featherweight title.
The NFL’s considerable popularity appeared to negatively impact Showtime’s boxing ratings Saturday night.
Showtime’s telecast aired at the same time as CBS broadcast the New England Patriots’ 34-16 home win against the Houston Texans in the NFL Divisional Playoffs. The New England-Houston game was watched by an average audience of 29.8 million.
If nothing else, Showtime’s ratings for Saturday night’s doubleheader were better than those for the premium-cable channel’s previous “Showtime Championship Boxing” broadcast.
The main event for that December 10 show, Abner Mares’ split-decision victory over Jesus Cuellar in a featherweight title fight, lured an average of 327,000 viewers and peaked at 377,000. The co-featured fight of that December 10 telecast from Los Angeles, IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo’s fifth-round knockout of Julian Williams, was watched by an average of 321,000 viewers and peaked at 370,000.
Peak numbers were not available Wednesday for the Jack-DeGale/Davis-Pedraza doubleheader.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.