By Jake Donovan
One conspiracy theory on Floyd Mayweather's massive drawing power is that a large portion of his 'fan' base actually tunes in hoping to see him lose. To a lesser a degree, a similar belief surrounded that of his 'baby brother' Adrien Broner.
That theory didn't exactly hold true on Saturday night, ironically in a fight where he did in fact lose. The former three-division champion was outclassed by Shawn Porter over the course of their 12-round bout Saturday evening in Las Vegas, which drew just shy of 2.4 million viewers while airing live on NBC.
While the number is solid in terms of the number eyes on a particular fight, it's in fact down from the previous two live prime time installments of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC. It was also topped by coverage of the U.S. Open on Fox's flagship station, with the two cards overlapping between 8:30-10:00 p.m. ET. The U.S. Open aired from 8:00-10:00 pm, while PBC on NBC aired from 8:30-11:00 p.m. ET.
Viewership for Porter-Broner increased during the final 30 minutes of the broadcast, according to Nielsen Media Research. The final round saw Broner—hopelessly behind on the scorecards—score a surprise knockdown, but unable to close the show, suffering his second loss in the span of his last five fights.
Broner appeared in the inaugural episode of PBC on NBC, outpointing John Molina Jr. over 12 rounds in March. The show was topped by Keith Thurman's decision win over Robert Guerrero, an entertaining scrap that drew more than 4 million viewers to make it the most watched non-PPV televised fight of the year to date.
Given his past strong numbers on HBO and Showtime, there is credence to claims that Broner contributed to the strong ratings in the PBC series debut in March. The bloom is perhaps off of the rose, as he was unable to carry his own show.
Porter made his network TV debut, and his second PBC appearance. The former welterweight titlist fought in the very first PBC card on Spike TV, knocking out late replacement Erick Bone on a show that—headlined by Andre Berto's knockout win over Josesito Lopez—topped out at 1 million viewers.
The June 20 installment of PBC on NBC also saw 2012 U.S. Olympic boxers Errol Spence and Terrell Gausha post wins in separate bouts. Spence scored a 3rd round knockout of Phil Lo Greco, a late replacement for overweight Roberto Garcia in the evening's chief support; Gausha pounded out an eight-round decision over Luis Grajeda in the televised swing bout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox