Saturday’s unanimous-decision win by Marcos “Chino” Maidana that dethroned Adrien “The Problem”Broner as WBA welterweight titleholder drew 1.3 million viewers, Showtime’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sports, Stephen Espinoza, announced on Tuesday.
Maidana (35-3, 31 knockouts ) floored Broner (27-1, 22 KOs) in the second and eighth rounds over the course of the bout, which was part of a four-hour quadrupleheader telecast.
A Fight-of-the-Year candidate, the average audience for the main event attracted the third-highest viewership numbers since the network began tracking individual bouts in 2009.
Broner-Maidana was supported by a ninth-round stoppage from welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman over Jesus Soto Karass, a third-round knockout by WBA light heavyweight beltholder Beibut Shumenov over previously unbeaten Tamas Kovacs, and a unanimous decision by WBC 122-pound beltholder Leo Santa Cruz over Puerto Rico’s Cesar Seda at The Alamodome.
“I’m very happy. I’m happy for Showtime, for us, and it’s great for the sport. You see now that Showtime has delivered,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “Showtime is delivering on a regular basis million-plus viewership numbers. For their subscribers, they’re continuing to show exciting, quality matchups and the fans are responding.”
Like Broner, Maidana is advised by Al Haymon, who also handles IBF beltholder Shawn Porter. Coming off a Dec. 7 unanimous decision that dethroned Devon Alexander, Porter watched Maidana-Broner from ringside and has stated his case for a bout with Maidana.
Another Haymon fighter was on the Maidana-Broner undercard in welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman, who also declared himself ready for Maidana following Saturday’s ninth-round stoppage of Soto Karass, whom he floored once each in the fifth and final rounds..
“What I’m very proud is is that Stephen Espinoza’s strategy of having double, triple and quadrupleheaders has found a formula which is resonating with his subscribers. That makes me happy,” said Schaefer.
“There’s no question about it that for many years, HBO was the undisputed champion when it came to boxing, and, now, what has happened in the last 12 months is that you have two networks which on a regular basis are attracting million-plus viewerships and I think that shows you that the sport of boxing is alive and well and fans are responding to it. As a result, the fighters are going to be exposed to larger audiences.”
Simply put: Showtime is on a roll.
Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. is coming off a unanimous-decision win over former RING 154-pound champion Canelo Alvarez on Showtime Pay Per View in September, which became the highest-grossing boxing event of all time with a record $150 million in revenue.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs), who turns 37 in February, is expected to return to the ring on May 3 either at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, or potentially at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. There is wide speculation that final details are close to being completed for Mayweather to face England’s Amir Khan, and that the announcement could be made soon.
“Showtime sports has achieved incredible growth in viewership of Showtime Championship Boxing in 2013,” said Espinoza, “and we’ll take this momentum into 2014.”
Replays of the full four-fight telecast will air on Dec. 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime Extreme, and again on Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime Extreme. The telecast is available at Showtime On Demand and via mobile devices on Showtime Extreme.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]