Saunders HBO Debut Nets 775K Viewers

David Lemieux’s loss to Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night would not be a loss for HBO, as more viewers tuned in on December 16th than Lemieux’s previous appearance on HBO.

Per ratings released by Nielsen Media Research on Tuesday, the Saunders-Lemieux main event drew a peak audience of 775,000 viewers on Saturday night from Laval, Quebec, Canada. Their 12-round fight, which Saunders won convincingly, was watched by an average of 716,000 viewers.

This was 100,000+ more viewers than Lemieux’s knockout victory of Curtis Stevens on March 11th, which had a peak audience of 672,000, and an average audience of 606,000.

An impressive boost for the future HBO prospects of Billy Joe Saunders, who made his debut on the channel in his decisive win over the hometown boy, Lemieux.

Earlier Saturday night, HBO’s broadcast of Spike O’Sullivan’s seventh-round knockout of Antoine Douglas peaked at 696,000 viewers. An average of 668,000 viewers watched Ireland’s O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) beat the favored Douglas (22-2-1, 16 KOs), of Burke, Virginia.

The opener of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader, Yves Ulysse Jr.-Cletus Seldin, averaged 624,000 viewers and was watched by a peak audience of 717,000. Montreal’s Ulysse (15-1, 9 KOs) knocked down Seldin (21-1, 17 KOs, 1 NC), of Bay Shore, New York, once apiece in each of the first three rounds and easily out-boxed him to win a 10-round unanimous decision.

Saturday’s show drew stronger ratings than HBO’s tripleheader the previous Saturday night, but lured fewer viewers than the first of HBO’s three December boxing broadcasts.

The main event of HBO’s three-bout broadcast December 9 from Las Vegas, Miguel Roman’s ninth-round knockout of Orlando Salido, peaked at 618,000 viewers and averaged 576,000.

That telecast competed with an ESPN boxing broadcast that featured Vasyl Lomachenko’s technical-knockout win against Guillermo Rigondeaux in the main event. ESPN’s four-fight show averaged 1,730,000 viewers.

On December 2nd, a peak audience of 1,012,000 tuned in to HBO for Miguel Cotto’s farewell fight. An average of 944,000 viewers watched Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) upset Puerto Rico’s Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) by out-boxing him and winning a unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden

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