By Jake Donovan
Not only were light heavyweight knockout artists Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev each a smash hit in the ring, but their performances came in front of their largest respective audiences to date.
Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally proven to be a death sentence for boxing events, but this past weekend in Quebec was widely successful for the A-side of the promotion as well as hosting network HBO. The main event for Saturday’s doubleheader at Colisée de Quebec—which saw Stevenson register his second title defense with a 6th round stoppage of England’s Tony Bellew—drew 1.305 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Amidst a Fighter of the Year-worthy campaign, Stevenson has seen his HBO viewing fan base increase by more than 25% since entering the title fray. His lineal light heavyweight championship winning 1st round knockout of Chad Dawson drew just over 1 million viewers in his HBO debut in June. The buzz was immediate, as 1.177 million viewers tuned in to HBO for his 7th round stoppage of Tavoris Cloud in September.
Everyone loves knockouts, which Stevenson has now accomplished in ten straight fights. Equally explosive in the ring is his greatest divisional threat; Kovalev provided the perfect primer with a two-round destruction of Ismayl Sillakh in the televised co-feature.
Kovalev’s eye-opening performance attracted more than 1.25 million viewers, more than tripling that of his HBO debut in August, when his title-winning 4th round knockout of Nathan Cleverly played to 367,000 viewers.
The main portion of the telecast peaked at 1.358 million viewers and served as the 5th most watched cable-televised boxing match of 2013.
Not reflected in the ratings is the show’s lead-in, the exclusive rebroadcast of Manny Pacquiao’s 12-round win over Brandon Rios, which aired one week prior on HBO PPV.
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.