By Keith Idec
The “PBC on FOX” boxing tripleheader headlined by WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s knockout of Gerald Washington averaged 1.76 million viewers Saturday night, according to ratings released Tuesday morning by Nielsen Media Research.
Viewership for the main event of FOX’s tripleheader peaked at 1.86 million in its final 15 minutes. The rating made the Wilder-Washington fight the most-watched boxing match thus far this year in the United States, though the telecast obviously was available to many more viewers than typical HBO, Showtime and basic-cable broadcasts because it was televised on free TV.
The unbeaten Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) overcame a slow start against Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) to drop him with a right hand in the fifth round.
Washington got up, but Wilder drilled the former USC football player with multiple left hooks soon thereafter. Referee Michael Griffin stopped the fight at 1:45 of the fifth round, with a woozy Washington still on his feet, at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Wilder-Washington tripleheader went head-to-head with a Bulls-Cavs game on ABC and a Flyers-Penguins game on NBC on Saturday night.
The NBA game, in which LeBron James didn’t play against former teammate Dwayne Wade, peaked at 2.43 million viewers. The NHL game peaked at 1.91 million viewers.
The Wilder-Washington ratings, while reasonably competitive with the NBA and NHL telecasts, were lower than Wilder’s last appearance on broadcast television. Wilder’s domination of Chris Arreola drew a peak viewership of 2.54 million in a fight also broadcast by FOX on July 16. That fight also took place at Legacy Arena.
Wilder-Washington, which marked the third time Wilder has headlined a show on broadcast television, also drew lower ratings than his 11th-round stoppage of France’s Johann Duhaupas in September 2015 at Legacy Arena. That telecast peaked at 2.36 million viewers on NBC.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.