By Allan Fox: Adrien Broner’s comeback fight against Jovanie Santiago brought dismal ratings last Saturday night on Showtime, averaging just 288,000 viewers for their headliner clash.
Showtime had to expect better ratings than this when they decided to let Broner fight an unknown fringe contender Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) in the main event, but these are poor numbers.
In contrast, the ESPN main event fight between WBC super featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt and Oscar Valdez brought in a respectful 771,000 viewers.
Yeah, that’s a much bigger fight involving two well-known fighters, but still, Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs) should have been able to pull in a lot of viewers than the dreadful 288,000 viewers that his fight averaged.
Possible reasons for Broner’s poor ratings
- Boxing fans view Broner as a washed-up fighter, no longer worthy of spending time seeing him fight.
- Broner vs. Santiago was seen as a poor match-up. AB’s opponent a bottom dweller. Fights like this are rarely placed in the headliner position nowadays, but in this case, Showtime took a chance, and the ratings reflected that. Boxing fans are more knowledgeable now than ever before about the quality of fights or, in Broner’s case, the lack thereof.
- Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Berchelt running against the Broner vs. Santiago fight on ESPN at the same time last Saturday. If you’re Showtime, it would have been a good idea to reschedule the Broner fight for another date where it would have no competition.
- Not enough promotion for the Broner-Santiago event. For a fight like that, Showtime might have needed more advertising to attract fans. I’m reaching here. The reality is, it’s unlikely that any amount of marketing for the Broner fight would have led to a significant increase in viewers last Saturday.
- Increased competition Showtime getting from DAZN and ESPN. If boxing fans have canceled their subscriptions to Showtime in favor of watching the sport on the other platforms, that might explain the low numbers for Broner vs. Santiago.
If you’re Showtime, they’re going to have to decide on what to do with Broner. Do they let him continue to take tune-ups and bring in potentially poor ratings, or do they insist that he face a quality 140-pounder like Regis Prograis?
Broner vs. Prograis would likely do good viewing numbers. Of course, it would likely end badly for Broner, who clearly isn’t fighting at a high enough level to beat a talented guy like Prograis.
While Broner will likely try and campaign to have two or three more tune-up fights with the goal of sharpening enough to win a world title, but it’s not realistic.
The way Broner fought against Santiago last Saturday was the same AB that we’ve seen for the last five years of his career. So even if Broner does take a handful of tune-ups, he’s still going to be way over his head if he faces Prograis or one of the world champions like Jose Ramirez or Josh Taylor.
The third option Showtime could do is dump Broner and focus on putting on relevant fighters who are still in their prime. You can argue that Broner’s career has been on a steep decline since his loss to Marcos Maidana in 2013.
Broner hasn’t done anything since his loss to Maidana aside from winning the WBA secondary 140-lb title in beating Khabib Allakhverdiev in 2015.
Broner looked like a textbook version of a shot fighter, with him struggling to defeat Santiago and winning by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision. The scores were 116-111, 115-112, and 117-110. Showtime’s unofficial scorer Steve Farhood had Santiago winning by a 114-113 score.
“Adrien Broner’s return to the ring against Jovanie Santiago averaged 288,000 viewers and drew a 0.11 rating in the 18-49 demo (38th best on cable for the day) for Showtime. #BronerSantiago #Boxing,” @CarlosToroMedia.