If you're wondering why HBO so graciously rolled out the welcome mat for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. following the debacle last September when he ended up weighing 173 pounds for his fight with Bryan Vera that was supposed to be contested at super middleweight (among other various weights throughout the weeks leading up to the fight), here is your answer.
In spite of Chavez Jr. being an embarrassment at the scales and receiving a bogus decision over Vera this past autumn, he is still unquestionably one of the biggest names in the sport. The live crowd, which was reportedly a little over 7,000, was a disappointment, but the Nielsen ratings are another story.
Today it's being reported that Saturday's rematch between Chavez and Vera did an impressive 1.39 million average and peaked at 1.53 million. This is going to stand as one of HBO's highest rated boxing cards of the year, and it may take home the gold when the dust is settled in December. In fact, the card performed so well that the undercard fight between Orlando Salido and Vasyl Lomachenko averaged 1.017 million viewers. That's excellent for a fight between two guys who are not well-known to mainstream audiences, and the fight started off pretty bad in terms of excitement if we're being honest.
What does this mean? Even though Chavez did a mediocre job of bringing in people to fill the Alamodome in San Antonio, he is still a major TV draw despite his recent issues. And TV, whether everyone likes it or not, is where a lot of the money comes from. He's a legitimate big name in an industry that craves stars, and with the war currently taking place between HBO/Top Rank and Showtime/Golden Boy, his value is at a premium.
There's been talk of him fighting Gennady Golovkin on PPV this fall, but it remains to be seen. Golovkin has never headlined a major PPV but has seen his own Nielsen ratings rise over the last two years. I'm not sure how a Chavez/Golovkin PPV would perform, especially if it takes place around a Floyd Mayweather fight in September and a Manny Pacquiao fight in October or November. If they were to tango on HBO, however, it would be a very big deal.