Adrien Broner's Showtime debut was a Nielsen success even if it left him with more skeptics than he had going in, as his split decision win over Paulie Malignaggi peaked at 1.3 million viewers, the second-highest rating on Showtime for boxing since 2009, trailing only Miguel Cotto vs Austin Trout last December.
The night's average viewership was 890,000, which also trails only Cotto-Trout in SHO numbers since 2009.
Broner (27-0, 22 KO) now has the two highest-watched cable fights of 2013 to his name, drawing 1.4 million against Gavin Rees on HBO in February. The April bout between Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham on NBC did a peak of 1.7 million and an average of 1.2 million, making it the most watched fight on American TV this year.
So if you wonder why ol' About Billions himself gets to call shots while being a still slightly unproven 23-year-old kid with a major league attitude or whatever else, remember this: People watch him, and since we're talking about HBO and Showtime, subscription networks, people are already paying to watch him. Fair or not, pay-per-view is probably no more than a year off if he keeps this up.