Hayden Panettiere: Did actress trigger sizzling ratings?
Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's (64-3, 53 KO) twelve round decision win over Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 KO) featured live on HBO on April 25 averaged 1.637 million viewers, peaking at 1.742 million, per Nielsen Media Research.
The fight was the most-watched non pay-per-view bout since 2012.
So what can be attributed to its success?
Bryant Jennings certainly isn't a household name, even among fight fans. Moreover, the bout was previously labelled a mis-match by many as Klitschko was a massive favorite.
Is Klitschko, who was fighting for the first time in the U.S. in seven years, that popular here? Or did he have a little extra help?
Perhaps we'll never know.
However, prior to the fight FightSaga suggested Klitschko vs Jennings ratings may sizzle due to Wlad's relationship with Nashville star Hayden Panettiere who recently gave birth to their first child.
Before, during and after the pregnancy, the couple garnered mainstream headlines due to their very public, seemingly somewhat drama-filled relationship. As a result of the Klitschko - Panettiere relationship, many non-fans of boxing who never heard of Wlad a year ago were well-familiar with boxing's 39 year old heavyweight champion when he stepped in the ring to make his title defense late last month.
Did a portion of Nashville's very large viewership tune-in to Klitschko's fight on HBO to see Hayden's man in action? Or, perhaps, did they want a few glipses at Panettiere herself?
Hayden, of course, cheered her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko to victory while sitting ringside and was often spotlighted by the HBO cameras.
Perhaps every high-profile boxer should date and/or marry a popular actress like Hayden Panettiere?
... It certainly wouldn't hurt ratings.