The final chapter of Bernard Hopkins's legendary boxing career translated to an HBO viewership that peaked over a million viewers.
According to the numbers from Nielsen Media Research, via RingTV, Hopkins' fight against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. averaged 934,000 viewers on the December 17 broadcast. The fight peaked at 1,035,000 viewers in the eighth round of the fight. As a point of reference, HBO's broadcast of the Terence Crawford vs. John Molina on December 10 averaged 807,000 viewers, peaking at 871,000.
While Hopkins' last fight garnered more viewers, the Crawford-Molina had to compete against the Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares card that was being broadcasted simultaneously on Showtime. The Showtime card had far worse numbers, as that card only average 327,000 viewers.
Opening the Hopkins card was the WBO cruiserweight title fight was champion Oleksandr Usyk and challenger Thabiso Mchunu and that fight averaged 560,000 viewers with a peak viewership of 645,000. The co-feature of the card was the NABF featherweight bout between Joseph Diaz Jr. and Horacio Garcia which averaged 644,000 viewers, peaking at 707,000.
The fight ended in unorthodox fashion, when Smith knocked Hopkins through the ropes and out of the ring early in the eighth round. Hopkins did not get back to the ring during the 20-count and Smith was awarded the TKO victory.