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Cotto numbers set stage for giant PPV with Canelo

If you have any doubt that the fall HBO PPV showdown between middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and former junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez is anything but a monster fight, here is a bit of data that should give you an idea how big it probably will be.

When Cotto blew away former unified titleholder Daniel Geale in the fourth round of a one-sided fight on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the bout averaged 1.589 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, for HBO’s live, first-time airing. It peaked at 1.621 million viewers, strong numbers, especially considering that it was only a one-fight broadcast (lasting less than an hour) with no time for the audience to truly grow, as is usually the case for doubleheaders and tripleheaders.

Thus far, the fight was the third-best performing cable fight of the year (all on HBO), continuing HBO’s tremendous spring run. And the reason why it is obvious how big the Cotto-Alvarez fight will be is because the No. 1 drawing cable fight of the year so far was Alvarez’s wild three-round shootout with James Kirkland that ended with a knockout of the year candidate on May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The fight averaged 2.146 million viewers with a peak of 2.296 million.

So with Alvarez and Cotto -- both of who have been part of seven-figure selling pay-per-views -- firmly entrenched as two of boxing’s most bankable draws, both having wildly passionate fan bases and their showdown being as close to a can't-miss action fight as one could think of, their tune-up fights ahead of the big one could not have been received any better by the public and likely foreshadows a giant pay-per-view audience.

The year’s No. 2 cable fight was heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s victory against Bryant Jennings on April 25 in New York, averaging 1.637 million with a peak of 1.742 million.