Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia was a rousing success on all fronts.
The fight, which was the 10th unification bout in welterweight boxing history, averaged 3.74 million viewers on the CBS telecast, according to Nielsen Media Research, peaking at 5.1 million viewers by the time the bout reached the 12th round of the fight.
Thurman barely beat Garcia via split decision to unify the WBC and WBA welterweight titles.
According to CBS, the fight garnered the highest ratings for a prime-time boxing telecast since 1998 and it was the third-most-watched live boxing on broadcast television since 1998.
In a night that was big for the sport of boxing, there was also potential that it could have been a disastrous night on television for the fight. CBS had to deal with ABC’s broadcast of the NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls as well as UFC 209 broadcasts on FOX and on pay-per-view. The Clippers vs. Bulls game drew an average of 1.7 million viewers.
The fight comes just two weeks after Deontay Wilder’s WBC heavyweight title defense against Gerald Washington averaged 1.76 million viewers and peaked at 2.57 million viewers.
The ratings are a positive sign for the sport, but it still not even close to approaching the levels of popularity the sport had in the late 20th century. The 1995 heavyweight bout between Mike Tyson and Buster Mathis Jr. drew an audience of 43 million viewers to FOX.
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