Everything about David Morrell Jr. is trending in the right direction.
The precocious Cuban southpaw made a splash in his latest headliner, a first-round knockout of unbeaten Mario Cazares Sunday evening to defend a secondary version of the WBA super middleweight title. The bout topped the June 27 edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) Fight Night on Fox, with the main event averaging 1,334,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The figure also represents the telecast’s peak viewership, as the main event lasted just 143 seconds. Morrell improved to just 5-0 (4KOs), with the fight taking place in front of a sellout crowd at The Armory in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bout ranks as the second-best viewership average of 2021 for a PBC on Fox main event. IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant (21-0, 12KOs) saw an average of 1,887,000 viewers tune in for his 12-round shutout of Caleb Truax in the January 30 Fox headliner that peaked at 2,019,00 viewers.
The special Sunday edition of PBC Fight Night on Fox averaged 882,000 viewers over the course of the three-fight telecast, up 38.7% over the May 1 Fox telecast preceding a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card later that evening. On the Fox TV portion, Erislandy Lara scored a first-round knockout of Thomas Lamanna in a bout topping a three-fight telecast that averaged a series-low 636,000 viewers and a peak of 726,000 which came in the show’s swing bout.
Morrell-Cazares was preceded by a Fight of the Year contender, with Brandon Glanton (15-0, 12KOs) outlasting Efetobor Apochi (11-1, 11KOs) via ten-round split decision in a highly entertaining cruiserweight slugfest that ended just shy of the 10:00 p.m. ET hour.
Opening the televised tripleheader, Philippines’ All Rivera (22-5, 18KOs) pulled off an upset with a ten-round majority decision victory over previously unbeaten Omar Juarez (11-1, 5KOs) in their junior welterweight contest.
Another upset on the card appeared atop the preceding preliminary card on FS1 that averaged 136,000 viewers from 6:00-8:00 p.m. ET. The two-hour, four-fight telecast peaked at 163,000 viewers between 7:30-7:45 p.m., coming during the preliminary main event which saw Nathaniel Gallimore outbox previously unbeaten Leon Lawson III to earn a ten-round majority decision victory.
As with the main card, the FS1 prelim card on Sunday outperformed the previous telecast on the network. A special Wednesday edition of PBC on FS1 aired live April 20, averaging 110,000 viewers, providing Sunday’s offering with a 23.6% increase in viewership.
Sunday’s show marked the third straight Fox primetime appearance for Morrell, as well as his second consecutive headliner. The 23-year-old southpaw saw a 30% increase in viewership from his prior main event, when a peak audience of 1,027,000 viewers tuned in for Morrell’s third-round knockout of Mike Gavronski on a December 26 show from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
The aforementioned ratings data does not include viewership figures from other Fox platforms such as Fox Deportes or the Fox Sports app.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox