HBO trounces Showtime in first head-to-head boxing ratings battle of 2014

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In what will likely come as no surprise, a stronger main event gave HBO nearly a 2-to-1 viewer victory over Showtime in 2014's first head-to-head boxing ratings battle.

HBO's Boxing After Dark doubleheader featuring Mikey Garcia vs Juan Carlos Burgos in the main event nearly doubled the viewership for Showtime Championship Boxing in their head-to-head battle on Saturday, January 25, a result that was probably about what everyone expected.

Showtime did an average 390,000 viewers for its card headlined by Lamont Peterson vs Dierry Jean, not a weak main event in the ring, but one that definitely lacked star power. Peterson is a B-side fighter in those terms, while Jean was a complete unknown for U.S. audiences.

Meanwhile, HBO had Garcia, who has been heavily pushed by the network for a couple of years now and has quietly become one of the most highly-regarded fighters in the sport. Combine that with HBO's bigger audience, and you get a blowout. B.A.D. did an average of 777,000 viewers.

And no matter how you look at it, these weren't exactly big-time, marquee events, either. Not to disrespect the fighters or the cards, which were solid on paper, but these weren't A-list events for either network. Round one goes to HBO in 2014, but it's more an interesting little note than anything particularly significant (Then again, that goes for just about all boxing ratings news, since the audience generally stays about the same size, give or take a couple hundred thousand people, which sounds like a lot, but isn't, unless you're FOX Sports Live.)

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