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Showtime defeats HBO in Saturday ratings

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Showtime averaged almost 100,000 more viewers.

Boxing fans enjoyed an embarrassment of riches this past Saturday evening thanks to dueling doubleheaders on HBO and Showtime. The former saw Takashi Miura and Miguel Berchelt come out on top in epic wars with Miguel Roman and Francisco Vargas, while Mikey Garcia and Leo Santa Cruz picked up big wins over Dejan Zlaticanin and Carl Frampton in the former.

The real battle, of course, was between the networks. Despite a 30k subscriber disadvantage, Showtime came out on top, earning 94k more average viewers throughout the event.

The Ring has the details.

Showtime’s excellent main event — Leo Santa Cruz’s majority decision win against Carl Frampton in a featherweight WBA title rematch — peaked at 643,000 viewers, based on ratings by Nielsen Media Research. That exceeded HBO’s main event, which also put on a first-rate scrap involving Miguel Berchelt stopping Francisco Vargas in the 11th round for a WBC featherweight title that peaked at 549,000 viewers.

Santa Cruz-Frampton attracted an average viewership of 587,000 while Berchelt-Vargas did an average of 497,000. Both main events were broadcast live in the same 45-50-minute window in the 11pm ET spot. HBO’s entire broadcast peaked at 561,000 and that included a portion of Takashi Miura’s stunning 12th-round knockout of Miguel Roman in the 130-pound co-feature. HBO typically doesn’t make statements on viewership numbers and declined a request for comment on Tuesday.

Dan Rafael reports that Showtime had not beaten HBO in a head-to-head clash in over three years.

All four fights promised action and lived up to expectations, but Santa Cruz-Frampton II’s name value seems to have carried the day. Upsets never cease in this sport.