More viewers watched Jaron Ennis’ dominant performance against Sergey Lipinets than his previous televised fight that officially counted on his record.
According to numbers Nielsen Media Research released Tuesday, Showtime’s telecast of Ennis’ sixth-round knockout of Lipinets attracted an average audience of 187,000. Viewership peaked at 191,000 during the Ennis-Lipinets bout at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Nielsen’s numbers include only those that watched Ennis-Lipinets on linear television, not those who viewed it via Showtime’s streaming service. ViacomCBS, the parent company of Showtime and BoxingScene.com, does not release streaming viewership totals.
Ennis-Lipinets, the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader, also aired at the same time as ESPN’s main event – Joe Smith’s 12-round, majority-decision victory over Maxim Vlasov in their WBO light heavyweight title fight. Smith-Vlasov was watched by an average audience of 506,000 and a peak audience of 541,000.
ESPN, a basic cable channel, has more than 80 million subscribers in the United States. Showtime, a premium cable network, has roughly 27 million subscribers in the U.S.
Nevertheless, what was billed as the toughest fight of the emerging Ennis’ promising career drew a significantly larger audience than his previous official fight on Showtime.
That bout, a sixth-round stoppage of Juan Carlos Abreu on September 19, kept an average audience of 126,000. Ennis’ easy defeat of Abreu was the opener of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast that night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Philadelphia’s Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs, 1 NC) headlined a Showtime telecast for the first time Saturday night. The highly touted welterweight delivered the punishing performance he promised and became the first opponent to knock out Kazakhstan’s Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs), a former IBF junior welterweight champ.
Ennis’ prior appearance on Showtime didn’t last a single round and resulted in a no-contest December 19 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Chris van Heerden suffered a deep cut across his forehead in the first round against Ennis and the South African southpaw couldn’t continue in what was scheduled as a 12-round fight for the IBO welterweight title.
The second fight of Showtime’s three-bout telecast Saturday night actually attracted its largest audience.
An average of 189,000 viewers watched welterweight Eimantas Stanionis’ 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Thomas Dulorme. Viewership of Stanionis-Dulorme peaked at 206,000.
Lithuania’s Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) pressured Puerto Rico’s Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) throughout their bout and overcame Dulorme’s movement and boxing ability. Stanionis won by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
The opener of Showtime’s tripleheader – an enthralling brawl between Jerwin Ancajas and Jonathan Rodriguez – drew an average of 183,000 viewers. The Philippines’ Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KOs) and Mexico’s Rodriguez (22-2, 16 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Ancajas’ IBF junior bantamweight championship, consistently traded head and body shots during an action-packed, 12-round slugfest that Ancajas won by unanimous decision.
Ancajas, who dropped Rodriguez late in the eighth round, won by scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.