By Keith Idec
The memorable battle between Julian Williams and Jarrett Hurd drew substantially higher viewership than the previous “PBC on FOX” main event.
A Nielsen Media Research report released Tuesday noted that a peak audience of 2,108,000 tuned in toward the end of the Williams-Hurd fight at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia. The three-bout broadcast on FOX averaged 1,385,000 viewers over the course of nearly three hours.
A combined average of 1,464,000 viewers watched on FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports’ streaming services.
Viewership was 28 percent higher for the Hurd-Williams show than for FOX’s three-fight offering April 20 from Carson, California.
That telecast peaked at 1,468,000 viewers during the main event, Danny Garcia’s seventh-round knockout of Adrian Granados in a welterweight fight. Garcia-Granados drew an average of 1,391,000 viewers, whereas the whole event averaged 1,082,000 viewers.
FOX’s boxing broadcast Saturday night competed directly for sports viewers with Game 1 of the NHL’s Western Conference finals between San Jose and St. Louis, which averaged 2,090,000 viewers, and a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Race, which attracted an average audience of 2,177,00. The show headlined by Williams-Hurd topped two ESPN telecasts of combat sports Saturday night – UFC preliminary fights, which averaged 813,000 viewers, and a Top Rank Boxing broadcast that averaged 740,000 viewers.
The FOX and ESPN boxing telecasts aired at the same time for nearly an hour. ESPN’s main event – Miguel Berchelt’s stoppage of Francisco Vargas in a WBC 130-pound championship rematch – did not compete directly with Williams-Hurd.
Williams’ upset of Hurd could lead to a rematch of a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Philadelphia’s Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs, 1 NC) knocked down Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs), who was about a 6-1 favorite, in the second round, often out-worked the bigger, supposedly stronger Hurd on the inside and won a unanimous decision.
All three judges scored their 12-round fight for Williams (116-111, 115-112, 115-112). He won the IBF, IBO and WBA 154-pound titles from Hurd, a native of nearby Accokeek, Maryland, whose homecoming was ruined by Williams’ superb performance.
FOX’s show also included Mario Barrios’ second-round knockout of Juan Jose Velasco and a 10-round a majority draw between middleweights Immanuwel Aleem and Matt Korobov.
San Antonio’s Barrios (24-0, 16 KOs) knocked out Argentina’s Velasco (20-2, 12 KOs) with a left hand to the body that prevented him from reaching his feet before referee Wayne Spinola counted to 10 in their welterweight bout. Russia’s Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KOs) seemed to out-box Aleem (18-1-2, 11 KOs), of Richmond, Virginia, but the outcome of their fight was changed from a majority-decision win for Korobov to a majority draw once an official from the Virginia Boxing & Wrestling Commission discovered a mathematical mistake on the scorecard of judge Mark D’Attilio.
Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced during the telecast that Korobov beat Aleem on the scorecards of judges Dorothea Perry (97-93) and D’Attilio (96-95). Judge Brian Costello had the action even (95-95).
Korobov and his team later learned D’Attilio actually scored their fight 95-95. That alteration rendered it a majority draw.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.