Perhaps now, the boxing is dead hacks will go away for a while.
All indicators are that the expected big weekend for the sport materialized. On Monday, figures released by the Nevada Athletic Commission showed the dueling shows in Las Vegas were each officially sold out.
On Tuesday, television ratings from Nielsen Media Research indicated that Showtime got a big boost in its ratings by broadcasting Canelo Alvarez's fifth-round stoppage victory over Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand Garden.
Though the full breakdown is not yet available, Nielsen numbers show that the Alvarez-Lopez fight drew a peak audience of 1.036 million viewers Saturday. The main event of the quadrupleheader drew a 2.6 rating.
The ratings for broadcast and cable shows always come in earlier than the sales figures for pay-per-view event. Sergio Martinez's decision win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center was on HBO Pay-Per-View. Though that figure is expected to be released later this week or early next week, indications are it should be around 500,000, which, if true, would be an extrarordinarily good number.
The rating for the Alvarez-Lopez fight far exceeded Showtime's average rating. However, to put it into perspective, the last time Alvarez fought on HBO (not HBO Pay-Per-View), he drew 1.469 million viewers for a 2011 bout against Kermit Cintron.
"I really believe we have two energized networks, HBO and Showtime, who are both committed to the sport of boxing and that's fantastic," said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who put on the Alvarez-Lopez show. "It's great for the sport that you have two premium subscription networks who are clearly serious for boxing. For a long time, Showtime was there, but it was not really there. Now, this shows they've stepped up and become a serious player.
"What you saw this weekend was great news for this sport. You had the MGM fight, the Wynn fight, all the sponsors involved, the networks involved. That is encouraging for everyone who is invested in the sport of boxing. It turned out to be one of the biggest single nights for the sport."
Alvarez clearly provided a boost, both at the gate and in the television ratings. On Sept. 8, Showtime drew 344,000 viewers for its at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas for a main event of Lucas Matthysse against Ajose Olusegun. That fight went head-to-head with an HBO card featuring Andre Ward beating Chad Dawson, that draw 1.3 million.
Ward's final fight on Showtime, the finale of the Super 6 World Boxing Classic on Dec. 17 against Carl Froch, drew an audience of 580,000 fans.
The Nevada Athletic Commission's club report, which tracks tickets sold and gate revenues, backs up claims of the big weekend. The Chavez-Martinez fight officially sold 16,939 tickets, with zero unsold. There were 751 complimentary tickets distributed. The live paid gate was $3.052 million.
The Alvarez-Lopez fight at the MGM Grand sold 12,860 tickets with zero unsold. There were 1,659 complimentary tickets handed out. The live paid gate was $1.618 million gate.
The official attendance of the Chavez-Martinez fight was a Thomas & Mack Center record of 19,186. That number includes all persons in the building, including commission members, media and those working on the show. That is typical for those people to be included in the final attendance figure.