Last Saturday night HBO and Showtime ran head-to-head cards, with HBO featuring Terence Crawford vs John Molina while Showtime featured Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares.
From a competitive standpoint the Showtime card was much better, as it also featured a compelling fight between undefeated junior middleweights Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams, whereas HBO’s co-feature had gatekeeper Ray Beltran taking on little known prospect Mason Menard.
Both cards played out more or less as expected, with HBO’s card featuring two mismatches while Showtime had two much more evenly-matched fights. But none o that made much difference in the ratings department as HBO trounced Showtime in the head-to-head, according to Nielsen Media Research via RingTV.
HBO’s Crawford-Molina telecast, which also featured a replay of Joseph Parker-Andy Ruiz from earlier in the day, averaged 807,000 viewers while peaking at 871,000. Conversely, Showtime’s Cuellar-Mares telecast averaged 327,000 viewers, peaking at 377,000, making it the least viewed live, prime-time boxing card on premium cable this year.
According to Top Rank, Crawford’s fight in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska also broke the CenturyLink Center’s attendance and box office gate records for a boxing match.