By Keith Idec
The ratings for Showtime’s second “Showtime Championship Boxing” broadcast of 2018 weren’t as high as the ratings generated by its first telecast of this year.
According to ratings released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research, the main event of the premium-cable channel’s tripleheader Saturday night, Danny Garcia’s ninth-round stoppage of Brandon Rios, peaked at 558,000 viewers. The Garcia-Rios fight was watched by an average audience of 516,000.
The main event of Showtime’s first “Showtime Championship Boxing” broadcast of 2018, IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr.’s eighth-round technical knockout of Lamont Peterson, drew a peak audience of 695,000 and averaged 637,000 viewers.
The scheduled 12-round welterweight bout between Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Rios (34-4-1, 25 KOs) was a reasonably competitive fight, despite that it was harshly criticized by fans and media as a mismatch.
Rios was behind on all three scorecards, but the Oxnard, California, native had given Garcia some trouble before Philadelphia’s Garcia got full extension on a perfectly placed right hand that floored Rios for the first time in the former WBA lightweight champ’s career. Rios reached his feet, but referee Kenny Bayless stopped the bout soon thereafter at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Garcia fought for the first time since losing a split decision to Keith Thurman in their 12-round, 147-pound title unification fight last March 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Thurman-Garcia fight drew an impressive peak audience of 5.1 million and averaged 3.74 million viewers, but that bout aired on free TV (CBS).
Showtime has approximately 24 million subscribers, whereas CBS, its parent company, is available in nearly 120 million American homes, according to Nielsen.
The two bouts Showtime televised before Garcia-Rios main event drew lower ratings Saturday.
The opener of the tripleheader, Yordenis Ugas’ seventh-round stoppage of Ray Robinson, was watched by a peak audience of 487,000 and an average audience of 314,000. The co-feature, WBC super middleweight champ David Benavidez’s dominant points victory over Ronald Gavril in their rematch, peaked at 489,000 viewers and averaged 458,000.
Cuba’s Ugas (21-3, 10 KOs) dropped Philadelphia’s Robinson (24-2, 12 KOs) with a right hand in the seventh round. Robinson got up, but Ugas unleashed a barrage of punches that made referee Robert Byrd halt their IBF welterweight elimination match.
Phoenix’s Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) displayed diversity offensively and better stamina late in his second 12-round fight against Romania’s Gavril (18-3, 14 KOs). After beating Gavril by split decision in their first fight September 8 in Las Vegas, the 21-year-old Benavidez won almost every round on the scorecards of all three judges Saturday night (120-108, 120-108, 119-109).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.