By Allan Fox: Last Saturday’s fight between WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) and #11 WBC Johann Duhaupas (32-3, 20 KOs) averaged just 2.2 million viewers with a peak of 3 million viewers on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
The numbers were obviously better than what you’d normally see on an average Showtime or HBO boxing event, but the fact that the fight was on free television on NBC during primetime means that not many fans were interested in this particular fight.
You can’t blame the lack of interest in the Wilder-Duhaupas fight entirely on Wilder. It’s more of a case of Wilder being matched against a little known opponent in France’s 34-year-old Duhaupas. Had this been a well-known heavyweight that Wilder was facing, or at least a heavyweight with a decent chance of winning, the ratings for the fight likely would have been much better than they ended up being.
Wilder gave Duhaupas a pounding in the process of stopping him in the 11th round of a one-sided fight. Despite the fight being a one-sided affair, it was still an interesting one to watch. Wilder had to deal with some adversity in dealing with a swollen left eye from 2nd round, and the 6’5” Duhaupas put a great deal of pressure on him throughout the fight.
Duhaupas walked through many of Wilder’s huge power shots until the 4th round. When Wilder got worked up in the 4th, Duhaupas was unable to walk through the shots. He was forced to cover up and wait for Wilder to stop throwing punches in order for him to get any of his own shots off. When Wilder really got warmed up in the 6th round, Duhaupas was given fewer and fewer opportunities to throw anything, because he was forced to cover up so much.
Premier Boxing Champions ratings weren’t helped any by the poor undercard bout between unbeaten heavyweight prospect Dominic Breazeale (16-0, 14 KOs), who looked very poor in being given a gift 10 round unanimous decision over Fred Kassi (18-4-1, 10 KOs) in a fight that Breazeale appeared to lose.
For the boxing fans that actually tuned in to watch the card and this unimpressive fight, they saw Kassie get the better of the big, slow and weak 6’7” Breazeale and then wind up getting arguably robbed by the judges. Breazeale won the fight by the following disturbing set of scores: 98-92, 97-93, and 100-90. The fans booed the decision, which told you all you needed to know about what they thought of Breazeale’s controversial win.
The Wilder vs. Duhaupas and Breazeale vs. Kassi card was the wrong type of fight card to compete against the college football that took place last Saturday. Premier Boxing Champions should have realized that they needed much better fights than these to get fans of other sports to tune in to watch these mismatches.
Wilder’s adviser Al Haymon needs to do a better job of picking out opponents for him when he’s making voluntary defenses of his WBC heavyweight title. Picking out Eric Molina and Duhaupas isn’t going to be good enough for Wilder to bring in good ratings. He needs to be at least matched against the likes of Bryant Jennings, Tomasz Adamek, Steve Cunningham, Tony Thompson and Shannon Briggs when taking voluntary defenses.
Wilder can’t be put in with fighters outside of the top 10, and guys that the American casual boxing fans haven’t ever heard of like Molina and Duhaupas. If Haymon wants to bring in the ratings, then he’s going to need to do the right thing by putting him with guys that they’ve heard of before.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, here’s where Wilder-Duhaupas compares with other recent Premier Boxing Champions card:
Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero – averaged 3.37 million viewers
Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson – averaged 2.28 million viewers
Adrien Broner vs. Shawn Porter – averaged 2.33 million viewers
Deontay Wilder vs. Johann Duhaupas – averaged 2.2 million viewers