By Jake Donovan
Amidst a busy sports night, the latest installment of Top Rank's Metro PCS Friday Night Knockout series on truTV found a way to pull in its highest rating to date.
It took two separate viewings on the night—both of which count towards the final numbers—but the September 11 card on truTV pulled netted an average of 319,000 viewers. It's a solid pull on a night that saw the biggest upset in women's tennis history when Serena Williams was bumped out of U.S. Open competition following a three-set loss to unranked Roberta Vinci.
The truTV show also overlapped with live boxing on Spike TV, with the PBC telecast drawing an average of 581,000 viewers.
Topping the card, Oscar Valdez solidified his status as one of the top young fighters on the rise, tearing through Chris Avalos en route to a 5th round knockout of their featherweight crossroads bout. Also on the show, unbeaten super middleweight Jesse Hart stopped Aaron Pryor Jr. in the 9th round of a matchup between second-generation boxers.
All four fighters were appearing for the first time on truTV, an affiliate of cable giant HBO. For Valdez, it marked his third fight on an HBO-associated card. The two-time Olympian from Mexico appeared on HBO's flagship station in June, scoring a 10-round decision Ruben Tamayo. His first HBO-related appearance came last November on HBO Latino, knocking out Alberto Garza in seven rounds.
The viewership tally for the September 11 show is the highest among the network's five boxing telecasts to date, which continues an upward trend.
Its series debut came on May 1—strategically airing on the eve of the historic May 2 clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The series premiere pulled in 249,000 viewers.
One week later saw a minor dip, with an average of 242,000 househokds catching the series' biggest upset to date when Michel Soro knocked out middleweight hopeful Glen Tapia. The May 15 card was a big hit for truTV and Top Rank, drawing 288,000 viewers and also trampling the now-defunct ESPN2 Friday Night Fights series in the key 18-34 and 18-49 markets.
The June 26 installment marked the previous series high, playing in an average of 303,000 homes. That card was topped by Gilberto Ramirez, who will headline the November 20 edition live from Las Vegas.
Prior to then, the next Friday Night Knockout card airs live on October 16 in Brooklyn, New York. Light heavyweight contender Seanie Monaghan—a huge attraction in his home state of New York—faces Donovan George in the main event.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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