Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin's wipeout of former titlist Daniel Geale on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York lasted less than three full rounds, which was probably one of the factors that hurt Golovkin's viewership figures for the first bout of his new deal with HBO.
According to Nielsen Media Research, Golovkin-Geale averaged 984,000 viewers for the live airing (with a peak at 1.048 million viewers). That ranks as the eighth-most-viewed fight of the year on American television. (HBO has televised the top nine.)
The average was a significant drop from Golovkin's last HBO fight in November, when he knocked out New York's Curtis Stevens in the eighth round of a fight that averaged 1.41 million viewers (by far the best of any of Golovkin's five HBO bouts) and had many labeling Golovkin as boxing's next big star.
Usually, as a fight goes deeper the audience grows, but with Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) scoring his 17th knockout in a row in short order, there was no opportunity.
HBO officials were disappointed with the figure but attribute the brevity of the fight as one of the key reasons for the decline, not to mention the fact that it took place in the dead of summer, which is always the lowest viewership time of year.
Other factors are also significant, including that HBO had not had any live, prime-time boxing in a month, meaning there were fewer opportunities to promote the event to its boxing audience. Also, despite Geale's credentials as a quality, top-5 middleweight, the Australian is an unknown in the United States. The fight with Golovkin was only his second American television appearance.
Here are the average viewership figures for all five of his Golovkin's HBO fights, in chronological order:
• Gregorz Proksa (Sept. 1, 2012): 685,000
• Gabriel Rosado (Jan. 19, 2013): 813,000
• Matthew Macklin (June 29, 2013): 1.1 million
• Stevens (Nov. 2, 2013): 1.41 million
• Geale (July 26, 2014): 984,000
Saturday's co-feature -- heavyweight Bryant Jennings' lackluster split-decision victory against Mike Perez in a title elimination contest -- averaged 714,000 viewers, peaking at 780,000.