By Jake Donovan
The April 24 installment of Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV played to 569,000 homes, including a 0.2 ratings among the coveted adults 18-49 market, according to data obtained from Nielsen Media Research. The show was a considerable drop from the series premiere on Spike TV, with its March 13 edition drawing nearly 1 million viewers.
Acknowledgment of a potential drop in ratings was expressed by PBC brass during fight week, though never to the point of concern. Heading into the show at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, there existed the realization of competing with a pair of NBA Playoff games on ESPN, both of which were the highest rated sporting events on the night.
The biggest televised story of the night, however, existed far beyond the world of sports, although involving a former athlete.
ABC’s edition of 20/20 featured an exclusive interview with Bruce Jenner, a former Olympic Gold medalist-turned-reality star who is now undergoing a gender transition. Friday’s segment on ABC—his first interview with any media outlet since his life-altering announcement—drew a massive 16.9 million viewers, the highest rated first-run edition of 20/20 in more than 15 years.
Regardless of network competition, the April 24 PBC on Spike TV episode was memorable only for the results that came of the night.
Badou Jack scored a major upset in dethroning previously unbeaten super middleweight titlist Anthony Dirrell in the evening’s main event. The co-feature saw Daniel Jacobs pick up the pace in the 12th round of an otherwise pedestrian middleweight title defense versus Caleb Truax. Opening the show, Roberto Garcia recovered from a 1st round knockdown to claim an eight-round decision over James Stevenson in a junior middleweight bout.
The pairing of Jacobs and Dirrell made for a compelling backstory. Both are cancer survivors who’ve gone on to capture major titles, the only two fighters in history who can make such a claim. A touching 30-minute documentary ran the week prior to fight night on Spike TV, drawing rave reviews.
As for the PBC on Spike TV series, it’s better luck next time. The next event takes place May 29 in Brooklyn, featuring Amir Khan versus Chris Algieri in a matchup of former 140 lb. titlists. In the co-feature, Brooklyn’s own Paul Malignaggi makes his return following a 13-month retirement-turned-hiatus as he faces Danny O’Connor in a welterweight battle.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox