According to Nielsen Media Research, the first head-to-head boxing clash on premium cable in 2015 was a wipeout win for HBO, with their Boxing After Dark doubleheader easily garnering more viewers than Showtime Championship Boxing's fights last Saturday night.
On HBO, the first fight of the night between Terence Crawford and Thomas Dulorme averaged 1.004 million viewers for the live, first time airing, peaking at 1.084 million viewers. The main event, a highly-anticipated clash between junior welterweight action stars Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov, averaged 1.243 million, peaking at 1.38 million.
Showtime's co-feature between Amir Imam and Walter Castillo peaked at 427,000, averaging 346,000. The main event with star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr facing Andrzej Fonfara averaged 618,000 viewers, peaking at 836,000 after Matthysse-Provodnikov ended.
Chavez's viewership was down 56% from his last fight in 2014, which aired on HBO. But it's certainly worth wondering what the fight may have done unopposed, as Chavez came in still carrying solid name recognition and star power. After his one-sided loss, it is also worth wondering what he'll be able to do next time out, if he is back on Showtime.
When you add it all up, the good news is that the total audience was really strong, and HBO has to be thrilled with the viewership for their card. Those are not fighters who are marquee attractions (yet), but Crawford's star is on the rise, and Matthysse-Provodnikov delivered, helped by word of mouth buzz from fight fans making it clear that it was a can't-miss fight.