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Klitschko vs Jennings peaks at over 1.7 million viewers on HBO

Wladimir Klitschko brought in the numbers at the gate and on TV. The heavyweight title isn't dead yet.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Wladimir Klitschko isn't a draw in the United States? Tell that to the 17,056 at Madison Square Garden. And tell that to HBO, as the network just saw big numbers for Klitschko's return to the States last Saturday night in his win over Bryant Jennings.

The bout between Klitschko (64-3, 53 KO) and Jennings (19-1, 10 KO) peaked at 1.742 million viewers, per Nielsen Media Research, and averaged 1.637 million viewers. The average for the entire show was 1.3 million. The co-feature between Sadam Ali and Francisco Santana averaged 1 million, with a peak of 1.134 million.

This is back-to-back strong weekends for HBO's boxing programming, following the April 18 card that featured Lucas Matthysse vs Ruslan Provodnikov. That fight averaged 1.243 million viewers in the main event slot, peaking at 1.38 million, and it was going head-to-head with a Showtime broadcast featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, as well.

What seems pretty evident is that despite any claims to the contrary, Klitschko's name and the power of the world heavyweight championship does still matter globally, not just in Europe. The average viewership for this show was the highest-rated edition of HBO World Championship Boxing since June 2012, when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr fought Andy Lee in El Paso. That fight was also combined with the replay of the incredibly controversial Pacquiao-Bradley fight, giving it an even bigger bump.

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