By Jake Donovan
For all of the complaining that was done by fans and media alike regarding Showtime’s August 9 tripleheader from Brooklyn, the ratings hardly suggest a mass protest.
Ratings were hardly spectacular for a show that was loaded with undesirable matchups, but the average of 612,000 viewers for Saturday’s show from Barclays Center was a slight increase from Showtime’s overall average for the 2014 boxing season.
The main event saw lineal super lightweight Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia score a 2 nd round knockout of Rod Salka in a non-title fight. Salka was moving up more than two weight classes for the fight, having last fought just above the super featherweight limit in an upset win over Alexei Collado this past April in a Shobox-televised headliner.
Garcia was dominant throughout the brief affair, which averaged 808,000 viewers and topping out at 850,000 fans (or critics) tuning in to the non-title fight. His previous network appearance—a disputed 12-round win over Mauricio Herrera in March–drew 972,000 viewers, with this fight dropping off roughly 17% from a show that was marketed around his appearing in Puerto Rico for the first time in his career.
There was no such hook for this show, which marked his third career fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Garcia helped christen the building, headlining its first inaugural boxing card with a 4 th round knockout of Erik Morales in their Oct. ’12 rematch.
His other appearance at the venue was a 12-round points win over Zab Judah last April.
The evening’s co-feature saw Lamont Peterson batter Edgar Santana en route to a 10 th round stoppage in their 140 lb. title fight. The bout drew an average of 648,000 viewers, a massive improvement from the ratings for his win over Dierry Jean earlier this year, in which just 402,000 viewers bore witness to his upending the unbeaten contender.
Opening the telecast, Daniel Jacobs made history by becoming the first-ever cancer survivor to lay claim to a major title. The belt at stake was of the paper variety, collecting a made-available middleweight title with a 5 th round stoppage of Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher. The bout drew an average of 558,000 viewers.
Overall, viewership steadily increased over the course of the evening, despite the harsh criticism surrounding the show and the fact that there were plenty of alternate choices in terms of getting your boxing fix. NBC Sports Network presented a live card, headlined by heavyweight contender Vyacheslav Glazkov in a disputed 10-round decision over sturdy journeyman Derrick Rossy.
The best fight of the night – and year – came on beIN Español, with Francisco Rodriguez Jr. walking through hell to outslug Katsunari Takayama in their strawweight title unification bout in Mexico.
Televised action was also offered on Azteca America and UniMas, both of which are more commonly available on cable and satellite packages than Showtime, a premium cable network.
Fans and media had plenty from which to choose on Saturday evening. While Showtime can hardly claim victory—the average of 612,000 viewers hardly impacts their overall season average (587,000 viewers per Showtime Championship Boxing event, compared to 957,000 viewers for the average HBO World Championship Boxing event thus far in 2014)—Saturday’s ratings suggest that most would rather complain about what one network offers than not watching at all (or watching something else).
Showtime returns this weekend with another televised tripleheader, airing live from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Shawn Porter and Kell Brook meet in the main event, a pair of unbeaten welterweights colliding in a 12-round title fight.
All ratings data obtained from Nielsen Media Research.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox