By Keith Idec
Television viewers reacted the same way to the Erislandy Lara-Terrell Gausha fight Saturday night as fans in attendance.
Showtime’s viewership went down during Lara’s mundane, 12-round win against Gausha, a rarity for a main event of a premium-cable broadcast. According to ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, Lara’s unanimous-decision victory over Gausha peaked at 476,000 viewers and averaged 399,000.
Immediately before Lara-Gausha, the second fight of Showtime’s 154-pound championships tripleheader from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – Jermell Charlo’s spectacular one-punch, first-round knockout of Erickson Lubin – peaked at 537,000 viewers. The Charlo-Lubin bout, which lasted just two minutes and 41 seconds, averaged 495,000 viewers.
The opener of Showtime’s telecast, Jarrett Hurd’s action-packed technical knockout of Austin Trout, drew Showtime’s biggest audience of the night when it peaked at 555,000 viewers. The Hurd-Trout bout drew an average viewership of 430,000.
Before the broadcast began, many fans and media wondered why Lara’s fight against the unbeaten but unproven Gausha was the main event over the highly anticipated bout between Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs), the WBC super welterweight champion, and Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs), Charlo’s mandatory challenger. Though it didn’t last long, Charlo-Lubin provided a stunning, exciting ending.
The Hurd-Trout fight was full of entertaining exchanges before the bigger, stronger, younger Hurd eventually wore down Trout in Hurd’s first defense of the IBF junior middleweight championship. Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) became the first fighter to beat Trout (30-4, 17 KOs) by knockout or technical knockout when a ringside physician stopped their scheduled 12-rounder following the 10th round.
After two satisfying fights, many of those left in the Barclays Center crowd voiced their displeasure with the lack of action in Lara-Gausha. Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), the WBA/IBO super welterweight champion, dropped Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs) in the fourth round, but seemed content thereafter to box his way to relatively easy victory against a cautious opponent who mostly was unwilling to engage.
Noticeable numbers of fans filed out of Barclays Center following several uneventful rounds between Lara-Gasha. A chant of, ‘This is boring!’ broke out in the ninth round as well.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.