By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia hasn’t just made strides as a ticket-seller.
More viewers also tuned in to Garcia’s fight Saturday night than for his previous performance. Ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research indicated Garcia’s victory over Robert Easter Jr. attracted a peak audience of 725,000 for Showtime on Saturday night.
Garcia-Easter, the main event of a tripleheader, was watched by an average audience of 680,000. Garcia’s prior appearance on Showtime, a unanimous-decision defeat of previously unbeaten Sergey Lipinets on March 10, drew a peak viewership of 689,000 and averaged 618,000 viewers.
The 30-year-old Garcia won the IBF junior welterweight title from Kazakhstan’s Lipinets. He dropped Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs) in the seventh round and beat him by unanimous decision at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
The Oxnard, California, native gave up the title he took from Lipinets to move back down for a lightweight title unification fight with Easter.
Garcia knocked down Easter in the third round and beat him by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 135-pound championship match at Staples Center in Los Angeles. In addition to winning the IBF lightweight title from Easter (21-1, 14 KOs), Garcia successfully defended his WBC lightweight crown for the first time.
The card headlined by Garcia-Easter was attended by an announced crowd of 12,560.
The highest ratings Garcia has produced for Showtime since he ended his 2½-year layoff in July 2016 were for his win against Adrien Broner.
Garcia’s 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Broner was watched by a peak audience of 937,000 and an average audience of 881,000. The polarizing Broner consistently draws strong ratings for Showtime, though, and was considered the “A” side of that main event last July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The fight Showtime televised before Garcia-Easter, Luis Ortiz’s second-round knockout of Razvan Cojanu, predictably drew lower ratings than the main event (peak: 606,000; average: 583,000). That heavyweight fight didn’t have much time to build an audience because Cuba’s Ortiz (29-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC) ravaged Romania’s Cojanu (16-4, 9 KOs) with a left hand that ended their scheduled 10-rounder at 2:08 of the second round.
The opener of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast, Mario Barrios-Jose Roman, peaked at 530,000 viewers and averaged 462,000. San Antonio’s Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) dominated the action, dropped Roman once apiece in the fourth and eighth rounds and won by technical knockout when Roman (24-3-1, 16 KOs), of Garden Grove, California, declined to come out of his corner for the ninth round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.