Gennady Golovkin vs. Martin Murray on Channel 5 managed an underwhelming 740,000 on February 21, 2015. This was followed up by a possibly more disappointing yet 1,100,000 average viewership for Frampton vs. Avalos on the far more established ITV on Saturday 28 February. As many people watched a rerun of Top Gun (740,000) on Channel 5 the day after the GGG bout as bothered to tune in for a ‘major’ live fight with a feared pound-for-pound talent against a significant British fighter.
This is all a world away from the days when the historically modest entities of Audley Harrison & Danny Williams could pull in 6,100,000 viewers as recently as December of 2005.
Peter Fincham, the Cambridge educated Director of Television for the ITV network, has a record of being openly anti-boxing – having scuppered the placement of the sport on an even larger terrestrial platform whilst the Controller of BBC One.
A path back toward mainstream relevance might include the humbling realization that by having fights on Saturday night you’re going head to head with formidable establishment foes in the guise of shows such as Match of the Day you’re unlikely to immediately topple. Both Michael Watson vs. Nigel Benn & Chris Eubank vs. Nigel Benn I took place on Sunday nights.