By Keith Idec

Showtime’s broadcast of Abner Mares versus Jesus Cuellar peaked at 377,000 viewers on Saturday night and averaged 327,000, according to statistics released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Much of Mares’ win against Cuellar competed directly with HBO’s telecast of the Terence Crawford-John Molina Jr. main event, which peaked at 871,000 viewers and averaged 806,000. Mares-Cuellar was more competitive than Crawford-Molina, but going head-to-head with HBO’s broadcast at least was partially responsible for lower viewership of the Showtime main event than some industry insiders expected.

Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs), of Downey, California, scored a knockdown against Argentina’s Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) during the 11th round and pulled off a slight upset by beating Cuellar via split decision in a 12-rounder at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. Judges Max DeLuca (117-110) and Dave Moretti (116-111) scored the fight for Mares, who lost 115-112 on judge Kermit Bayless’ card.

Showtime’s co-featured fight Saturday night, Jermall Charlo’s fifth-round knockout of Julian Williams, was watched by an average of 321,000 viewers. That fight peaked at 370,000 viewers.

Houston’s Charlo (25-0, 19 KOs) floored Philadelphia’s Williams (22-1-1, 14 KOs, 1 NC) three times, including twice in the fifth round, before their scheduled 12-round fight for Charlo’s IBF junior middleweight title was stopped.

The replay of Anthony Joshua’s third-round knockout of Eric Molina in their IBF heavyweight title fight also was part of Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night.

That fight averaged 224,000 viewers and peaked at 244,000.

Earlier Saturday, however, Showtime’s live airing of Joshua-Molina from Manchester, England, attracted a peak audience of 390,000, making it the most-watched of the three fights Showtime televised Saturday. An average of 368,000 viewers tuned in to see the live version of England’s Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) overwhelming Molina (25-4, 19 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas.

The Joshua-Molina main event didn’t start until 75 minutes after Showtime’s broadcast began at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT because the undercard ran later than expected.

The 390,000 peak viewership for Joshua-Molina on SHO BOXING INTERNATIONAL is the biggest audience to date for that platform. The card headlined by the Joshua-Molina match was televised via pay-per-view by Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.