Saturday, 05 January 2013 08:27

Boxing: Adamek vs Cunningham II Was a Hit in the U.S.

Written by
According to ESPN, the December 22nd heavyweight boxing match between former cruiserweight champions Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham garnered roughly 1.6 million viewers.

Adamek vs Cunningham II took place in Bethlehem, PA and was televised live on NBC in the U.S.

A week prior to the Adamek-Cunningham bout, CBS launched its first live nationally-televised boxing match since 1997. IBF Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz (23-0 13 KOs) earned a hard fought decision over Alberto Guevara (16-1 6 KOs) in a fight that didn't disappoint.

Is boxing on the verge of a renaisance of sorts in the United States?

1.6 million certainly isn't a mind-blowing number but Main Events' Kathy Duva, who served as the primary promoter of Adamek vs Cunningham two weeks ago, told NYFightblog she was "very pleased" with the ratings.

Given the bout took place in the middle of a Saturday afternoon (eastern time) three days before Christmas, many will contend Ms. Duva has every reason to be satisfied with the numbers. After all, the event fell smack in the middle of "prime" time for holiday shopping and travel.

Logistics-wise, it certainly wasn't ideal.

A night bout would have likely attracted a greater viewing audience as more fans would have seemingly been available much later in the day. But perhaps those time slots were not available to Main Events?

Secondly, none of the four fighters on the televised portion of the fight card is mainstream. The fellas on the undercard were virtual unknowns to anyone who isn't a hardcore fight fan and even Adamek and Cunningham, although highly-skilled and very accomplished, aren't extremely popular among casual fans of boxing in the United States.

The Result 

What would boxing be without some controversy?  Tomasz Adamek won a highly-disputed split decision over Steve Cunningham. 

In some ways, Adamek vs. Cunningham 2 was not unlike their first bout. The pace wasn't as blistering but last month's fight was entertaining nonetheless.  Steve Cunningham appeared to dictate the tempo and carry most of the rounds.

Tomasz Adamek, who also won the first fight by split decision, was the aggressor but only appeared "effective" in spots. He also appeared to give away the first four rounds, unleashing furious attacks in the last 30 seconds in a seemingly vain attempt to steal the stanza.

Looking slow and ploddish at times, the pursuing Adamek ate a lot of leather from a faster, sharper Steve Cunningham.

But Adamek wasn't without his moments. The Pole worked his way inside and was able to do damage on the ropes. And he had Cunningham reeling at times with his power and manufactured a strong 11th Round but his efforts, while effective, appeared too few and far between.

Good fight... good viewing numbers... questionable decision.
So how did Adamek vs Cunningham compare with UFC's prelims on December 30th?

The preliminary fights for UFC 155 aired on the FX Channel and included a lightweight bout between Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard, as well as a bantamweight brawl featuring Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland.

According to Sherdog, the UFC 155 "Prelims" averaged 1.4 million viewers, slightly higher than the 1.2 million viewers who witnessed UFC on FOX 5.

Both nationally-televised UFC events in December yielded fewer viewers than Adamek vs Cunningham II.