If there was any doubt as to whether or not people would tune into a Manny Pacquiao fight in 2017, the ratings for the ESPN broadcast shattered those doubts.
Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn continued boxing's extremely successful 2017, peaking at 4.4 million viewers on the July 1 broadcast, averaging 3.1 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN Deportes (the Spanish-language broadcast), and ESPN’s streaming options. The 4.4 million peak came in the final half hour of the main event.
The main ESPN channel broadcast averaged 2.812 million viewers and a 1.6 overnight rating. This would make it the most-watched boxing event on cable TV since 2006, when Carlos Baldomir fought Arturo Gatti on HBO. That fight also earned a 1.6 rating. It was the highest rated boxing broadcast on ESPN networks since December 21, 1995, when Danell Nicholson fought Darren Hayden.
Pacquiao vs. Horn joins Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia as the two most watched boxing fights of 2017 by a country mile.
The Thurman vs. Garcia fight from March, which was the 10th unification bout in welterweight boxing history, averaged 3.74 million viewers on the CBS telecast peaking at 5.1 million viewers by the time the bout reached the 12th round of the fight. According to CBS at the time, 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.
Horn won the WBO welterweight title off of Pacquiao in a very controversial unanimous decision. The co-feature of the card, which was broadcasted live in Brisbane, Australia, saw Jerwin Ancajas retain his IBF junior bantamweight title with a TKO win over Teiru Kinoshita.
It is the first fight in a multi-fight deal between Top Rank and ESPN. The network will also broadcast Vasyl Lomachenko's next fight on August 5 and the historic light welterweight unification bout between world champions Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo on August 19.