By Keith Idec
Mikey Garcia’s victory over Sergey Lipinets didn’t draw as many viewers as Garcia’s win against Adrien Broner in his previous fight.
Garcia-Lipinets was watched by a peak audience of 689,000 and averaged 618,000 viewers Saturday night, according to ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. Garcia-Broner peaked at 937,000 viewers and averaged 881,000 on July 29.
The public’s recognition of those two opponents clearly impacted the ratings for Garcia’s wins against Broner and Lipinets. The polarizing Broner, a former four-division champion, has consistently generated good ratings for Showtime, whereas the lesser-known Lipinets has fought on “Showtime Championship Boxing” just twice.
Garcia-Lipinets also aired almost entirely at the same time as ESPN’s main event Saturday night, an entertaining featherweight title bout in which WBO champion Oscar Valdez fought through a broken jaw to defeat England’s Scott Quigg by unanimous decision in a 12-rounder.
By beating Lipinets (13-1, 10 KOs), the 30-year-old Garcia became a world champion in a fourth weight class and continued to establish himself as one of the sport’s elite fighters. Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), of Oxnard, California, knocked down Kazakhstan’s Lipinets in the seventh round and comfortably won a 12-round unanimous decision at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio (117-110, 117-110, 116-111).
Showtime’s co-featured fight Saturday night, a rematch between super lightweights Kyril Relikh and Rances Barthelemy, peaked at 544,000 viewers and was watched by an average of 489,000 viewers.
Belarus’ Relikh (22-2, 19 KOs) avenged a controversial unanimous-decision loss to Cuba’s Barthelemy (26-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) on May 20 by clearly out-boxing the former two-division champion.
Relikh’s decisive victory in their 12-rounder earned him the then-vacant WBA 140-pound title. He won 118-109 on two scorecards and 117-110 on the other card.
A week before Garcia-Lipinets aired, Showtime produced its best boxing ratings in more than three years.
Its telecast of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s 10th-round knockout of Luis Ortiz drew a peak audience of 1.2 million and averaged 1.1 million viewers on March 3. Those numbers represented Showtime’s highest ratings for boxing since Wilder’s win over Bermane Stiverne in their first fight attracted a peak audience of 1.34 million and an average viewership of 1.24 million in January 2015.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.