Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins delivered HBO's highest rating since 2009. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Last Saturday's rematch between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins on HBO attracted a viewing audience of 1.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched HBO fight since 2009.
A pair of 2009 fights were more-watched than this one. The September 2009 fight between Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola did 2.124 million viewers, which is HBO's highest-rated fight in recent memory, and benefited from having the Mayweather vs Marquez replay preceding the live broadcast. And in January 2009, the Antonio Margarito vs Shane Mosley fight did 1.9 million viewers.
But the 1.8 million is good news, and I don't mean to say it's not. It's still a relative pittance compared to past HBO glory, but the upticks are encouraging, and given the current boxing TV climate, this is a huge number, obviously. For a reference point, HBO's "Game of Thrones" is a pretty hot show with great buzz right now, and it did 2.444 million viewers on Sunday night. Pascal vs Hopkins getting back into territory where we could expect some fights on HBO to get back above two million viewers is good. The live and tape delay airing of Klitschko vs Haye on July 2 could well top that mark -- let's hope, anyway.