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Thurman-Porter, Joshua-Breazeale ratings numbers

Anthony Joshua Keith Thurman Shawn Porter

By Allan Fox: Last Saturday night’s card headlined by the welterweight clash between WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter brought in tremendous ratings on Showtime Boxing on CBS from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Thurman vs. Porter main event averaged 3.1 million viewers, according to Dan Rafael. The card itself averaged 2.4 million viewers. Those are tremendous ratings.

Having welterweights as good as Thurman and Porter face each other is a rare thing in the sport nowadays. The fight fans in the U.S saw this fight as an interesting one, so they gladly tuned in to see it. What helped matters is there was a great deal of marketing of the Thurman-Porter fight ahead of time. The fans knew the fight was taking place last Saturday, so the fans tuned in to see it in large numbers.

It would be nice if the fight fans in the U.S got to see fights like Thurman-Porter all the time, but that doesn’t happen. Before this fight, Thurman’s best opponent of his entire card was Luis Collazo. Porter had fought Adrien Broner and Kell Brook in the past, but that’s about it in terms of fighters that the casual boxing fans have heard of.

Unfortunately, the huge ratings for Showtime didn’t transfer over for the afternoon fight between IBF heavyweight champion and challenger Dominic Breazeale on Showtime. That fight averaged a pitiful 289,000 viewers. The card averaged 227,000 viewers. Showtime was asking for trouble by putting this card on in the afternoon rather than in the evening hours. It was also a fight that had two little known heavyweights in Joshua and Breazeale. They’re known only among the hardcore boxing fans in the U.S. Showtime recently signed Joshua to a multi-fight contract. The fight took place in the UK at the O2 Arena in London.

If the Joshua-Breazeale fight had taken place during primetime hours on a free network like CBS, the fight would have likely brought in much bigger numbers. Having the Joshua-Breazeale fight on Showtime, a network that people need to pay extra to watch meant that the fight wasn’t going to be seen by a lot of people. Further, having the fight card take place earlier in the day when people are watching other sporting events certainly couldn’t have helped things.

The Joshua vs. Breazeale fight wasn’t an enthralling one because it was a mismatch and it was always meant to be a mismatch. If Showtime wanted great numbers for the Joshua fight card, then they could have had him fight a better opponent than Breazeale. Joshua should be fighting guys like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, David Haye, Luis Ortiz, or Wladimir Klitschko. Having him fight Breazeale wasn’t going to work because he’s an unknown fighter even though he’s American. It’s going to take a while for Joshua to become a big name in the U.S. They’re not going to make him a star after one fight. It’s going to take a lot of time and work for Joshua to become as big a star as Gennady Golovkin is in the U.S

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