By Jake Donovan
The hybrid offering of Showtime’s November 1 boxing tripleheader from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago saw betting favorites Andrzej Fonfara, Tomoki Kameda and Javier Fortuna all post wins.
The main event registered an average of 281,000 households, with a peak average of 413,000 homes tuned in to the action. News of the results was first broken by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
Overall, the show averaged 345,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated Shobox / Special Edition event from Showtime in 2014.
Both numbers are down from the highest-rated portion of a similar show – described as a cross between the network’s Showtime Championship Boxing and Shobox series – in October, when Vanes Martirosyan's decision win over Willie Nelson - the co-feature attraction of the show - drew a higher overall average (337,000 households) and a slightly higher peak audience (421,000 households).
If there was a silver lining, it was that Saturday’s show increased in viewership as the night went on, with the three-fight show registering an overall average of 345,000 households. In that regard, it was an improvement from the October edition, which topped out with the evening’s co-feature and rapidly declined over the course of the main event between Rances Barthelemy and Fernando Saucedo.
The main event on Saturday saw Andrzej Fonfara bounce back from a failed World light heavyweight title bid earlier in the year, scoring a 10-round decision over Doudou Ngumbu. The fight featured plenty of action and provided sufficient entertainment for the rabid crowd of roughly 4,000 to cheer on Fonfara, a huge favorite among Chicago’s massive Polish/Polish-American community.
Their bout was the highest rated of the night, with an average audience of 413,000 households and an absolute peak of 461,000 viewers.
In the co-feature, Tomoki Kameda won in his second consecutive stateside appearance, scoring a 12-round win over Alejandro Hernandez for his third successful bantamweight title defense. The bout served as a stiffer test than in his U.S. debut, when he made a major impact in this part of the world with a 7th round knockout of former titlist Pungluang Sor Singu in Las Vegas this past July.
The main talking point of Kameda’s split decision win over Hernandez was the fact that it was a split decision. The ringside broadcast team suggested a landslide win in favor of Kameda, a sentiment that seemed to be echoed by those tuning in to the broadcast. Media reports from ringside suggested a much closer affair, with several rounds tough to score and thus the variance in the final scorecards.
Opening the telecast, Javier Fortuna knocked out Abner Cotto in the 5th round of an ugly, foul-filled super featherweight brawl. The bout saw both fighters get dirty – though Cotto fighting as if it was his only plan – and highly questionable calls made by referee Lou Hall, who lost control of the fight early on and was fortunate for it to have ended early enough to not endure further exposure as a ring official in need of additional seasoning.
All data was obtained through Nielsen Media Research.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox