The Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia welterweight title unification bout was a smash hit in the ratings Saturday for CBS.
According to numbers from Nielsen Media Research provided to Yahoo Sports, the main event averaged 3.74 million viewers and peaked in the 12th round at 5.1 million viewers.
It is the most-viewed boxing event in primetime since 1998 and the second-most watch boxing event, including all bouts, following the Errol Spence Jr.-Leonard Bundu fight on NBC on Aug. 21 since 1998. The Spence-Bundu fight wasn’t in primetime and was shown immediately following the gold medal men’s basketball game during the Olympics last year, and the peak viewership came in the opening minutes of the fight.
The Thurman-Garcia’s fight’s broadcast average was 83 percent higher than the NBA game on ABC in primetime Saturday.
It was a sensational number, and further proof to promoters that when they pit the best versus the best, the fans will respond. There were good ratings for a Fox card the previous Saturday that featured Deontay Wilder against Gerald Washington for the WBC heavyweight title in the main event.
When promoters or TV networks put on mismatches, the fans don’t bother. These ratings are clear evidence to them that’s not the way to go.
Don’t hold your breath, however, that it will change. This is, after all, boxing, where it’s every man or woman for himself/herself and there is no fight for the collective good.