By Keith Idec
Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia was the most-watched of six boxing matches televised Saturday night on premium cable channels.
Nielsen Media Research ratings released Tuesday revealed Showtime’s main event between Porter and Garcia drew a peak audience of 690,000. An average of 619,000 viewers watched their entire 12-round, 147-pound title fight.
Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night from Barclays Center in Brooklyn aired mostly at the same time as an HBO “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader from The Forum in Inglewood, California. The peak viewership for HBO’s broadcast was 421,000 during its second fight – a 12-round draw between Filipino super flyweights Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23 KOs) and Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20 KOs).
The 30-year-old Porter edged Garcia in a highly competitive, entertaining encounter to become a two-time welterweight champion. Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs), a Las Vegas resident raised in Akron, Ohio, boxed from the outside more than usual, took Garcia’s hardest punches well and beat Garcia on the scorecards of all three judges – Don Ackerman (116-112), Julie Lederman (115-113) and Eric Marlinski (115-113).
Porter won the WBC welterweight championship Keith Thurman gave up late in April because a hand injury delayed his return from elbow surgery.
Philadelphia’s Garcia, also 30, lost for just the second time as a pro (35-2, 20 KOs). The former WBA/WBC 140-pound champion also failed in his bid to regain the WBC welterweight crown he lost to Thurman by split decision in their 12-round welterweight title unification fight 18 months ago at Barclays Center.
The bout broadcast before Porter-Garcia, a comparatively boring welterweight fight in which Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas out-pointed Argentina’s Cesar Barrionuevo, was watched by a peak audience of 510,000 and an average audience of 447,000. Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) became the mandatory challenger for Porter by beating Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in that 12-round WBC elimination match.
The opener of Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday, an action-packed, 10-round heavyweight brawl between Adam Kownacki and Charles Martin, drew a peak viewership of 503,000 and an average audience of 395,000. Brooklyn’s Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) beat St. Louis’ Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision in a fan-friendly fight in which both boxers demonstrated grit and durability.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.