On a busy sports night, HBO's boxing telecast from Madison Square Garden was unable to attract a large television audience.
According to Showbuzz Daily, the March 3 HBO Boxing After Dark main event, Sergey Kovalev vs. Igor Mikhalkin for the WBO light heavyweight title drew an average viewership of 599,000. The fight peaked at 674,000 viewers, but both the peak and average viewership were down from HBO's last telecast, the Superfly 2 special event.
Superfly 2, the February 24 HBO boxing card from The Forum, drew an average of 639,000 viewers for the main event, peaking at 753,000. That event's television's numbers were even down from the first HBO boxing card in January, which only attracted an average viewership of 719,000. The final numbers for the March 3 event were the lowest the network had since the December 9, 2017 HBO telecast, which only averaged 576,000 viewers.
Kovalev defeated Mikhalkin by TKO to retain his WBO title. it was the second straight fight at Madison Square Garden for Kovalev. Kovalev's last fight at the historic venue saw him win the then-vacant WBO title after knocking out Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
The opening bout of the HBO card was another light heavyweight world title between WBA champion Dmitry Bivol and Sullivan Barrera. Bivol knocked out Barrera to retain the title and that fight drew an average viewership of 512,000, peaking at 570,000. The next HBO boxing telecast is the April 28 event at the Barclays Center with a main event of Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki.