By Jake Donovan
A pleasant surprise came with HBO’s latest installment of
Boxing After Dark
, which produced a Knockout of the Year contender, a viable player in the middleweight division, and ratings that far surpassed expectations and the budget surrounding the show.
Canada’s David Lemieux has clawed his way back into contention after past debacles, his most recent achievement coming in a 10
round stoppage of Gabriel Rosado on December 6 in Brooklyn, New York. The bout marked the stateside debut for Lemieux, which registered well with the home audience as an average of 908,000 viewers tuned in for the main event.
The fight–which also marked Lemieux’s first appearance on HBO—peaked at more than 1.16 million viewers. Lemieux is now being suggested as a future opponent for unbeaten middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, who is under exclusive contract with HBO.
The strong ratings pull was a peak viewership increase of nearly 125% from the prior week, when Fighter of the Year candidate Terence Crawford scored a 12-round decision over Raymundo Beltran. Crawford’s World lightweight championship win ran well past 1:00 a.m. ET, resulting in a considerable ratings dip from his previous network appearances.
Fans hoped for history to not repeat itself, despite HBO once again kicking off a tripleheader at 10:00 p.m. ET. Lemieux was spared having to box way after dark thanks to the early ending provided by unbeaten super welterweight prospect Hugo Centeno Jr. delivering one of the best knockouts of the year, icing James de la Rosa in five rounds.
Like Lemieux, Centeno Jr. was also appearing on HBO for the first time. His smash hit in the ring drew 750,000 viewers for the evening’s chief support. The bout peaked at 815,000 viewers.
Opening the show, Thomas Dulorme scored a narrow 10-round split decision win over Hank Lundy. Their fan-friendly affair drew an average of 672,000 viewers, peaking at 778,000 viewers.
Overall, the show performed remarkably well, considering the total fight purses barely exceeded $500,000, a budget that pales in comparison to most
Boxing After Dark
All data provided by
Nielsen Media Research
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: