By Keith Idec
Ratings for HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader Saturday night reflected direct boxing competition on ESPN.
According to ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, Daniel Jacobs’ easy victory Luis Arias drew a peak audience of 765,000 viewers and averaged 706,000. Milwaukee’s Arias (18-1, 9 KOs) wasn’t willing to engage during much of his 12-round defeat to Brooklyn’s Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs), the best opponent of his five-year pro career.
The fight was Jacobs’ first since his close loss to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) on March 18 at Madison Square Garden and marked the start of his exclusive contract with HBO. Much of the tripleheader that featured Jacobs went head-to-head with an ESPN broadcast from Fresno, California, in which junior welterweight contender Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) knocked out Mike Reed (23-1, 12 KOs) in the second round of the main event.
HBO, a premium cable channel, has roughly 32 million subscribers in the United States. ESPN, a basic cable network, is available in nearly 90 million American homes.
HBO’s co-featured fight Saturday night, a heavyweight bout between Jarrell Miller and Mariusz Wach, peaked at 739,000 viewers and averaged 673,000. Brooklyn’s Miller (20-0-1, 18 KOs) stopped Poland’s Wach (33-3, 17 KOs) in the ninth round of a scheduled 12-rounder Miller was winning easily.
Wach was still standing when their fight ended, but suffered an injury to his right hand earlier in the bout that prompted referee David Fields and New York State Athletic Commission doctors to monitor him closely.
Miller made his HBO debut, as did Long Island junior welterweight Cletus Seldin, who won impressively in the opener of the tripleheader. Seldin’s victory, a third-round stoppage of Mexico’s Roberto Ortiz (35-2-2, 26 KOs), was watched by a peak audience of 556,000 and drew an average viewership of 532,000.
Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC) dropped Ortiz twice in the first round, opened cuts across the bridge of his nose and over his left eye in the second round and sent him to one knee in the third round. The laceration around his left eye was bleeding badly and caused a NYSAC doctor to stop the fight following the third knockdown of the fight in the third round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.