A Star Is Born: Golovkin vs. Lemieux

By Robert Ecksel on October 13, 2015
A Star Is Born: Golovkin vs. Lemieux
Saturday is Golovkin’s chance to punch his way into the hearts and minds of fight fans.

As the old stars fade and new stars are created, their ability to generate pay-per-view revenue becomes a touchstone of their viability…

On Saturday, October 17, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, in a fight televised live on HBO PPV, WBA, IBO, and interim WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs), the knockout artist from Los Angeles by way of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, fights a unification bout against IBF World middleweight champion David Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs), from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Boxing is a star-based system and the star-making process regarding Golovkin has been going on for some time. Although he is 33 years old and has been fighting professionally since 2006, he has yet to be tested. But with Floyd Mayweather gone (if not forgotten) and Manny Pacquiao promising (or threatening) one last fight before he calls it a day, it’s time for Golovkin to step up and his fight with Lemieux, not a former or wannabe champion but a genuine titleholder, is his chance to punch his way into the hearts and minds of fight fans.

Unfortunately, with the fight on pay-per-view, many fight fans will not see the fight. At $49.95 the cost of watching the bout is not as prohibitive as some of the pay-per-view fights in the past. But those on a fixed income, as well as those who have grown accustomed to watching increasingly improving PBC fights for free on regular TV, may not be inclined to reach in their pockets in order to watch a fight which may in fact be pay-per-view worthy.

Like it or not, the pay-per-view model is here to stay. It has hurt boxing at the same time as it has helped HBO and Showtime. Considering the quality of Mayweather’s last couple of fights on pay-per-view, his fight against a one-armed Filipino and a fight against a Floridian of Haitain descent who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of competing with Money May, the wariness of forking over 50 bucks may be stronger than ever.

But Golovkin is fighting a worthy opponent. Lemieux hits hard. He’s resilient. He’s hungry. Those same qualities applied to most of the men Triple G has fought and defeated, almost all of whom bit the dust within the first few rounds. But Lemieux says he’s ready to shock the world Saturday night, and if he stops Golovkin the world will indeed be shocked, at least that portion of the world that elected to tune in. Still, few believe Lemieux has what it takes to defeat Triple G. It won’t, however, be for want of trying.

HBO is lowballing expectations, not for the fight itself, which has the potential to be Fight of the Year, but for the number of pay-per-view buys they expect. According to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions who handles Golovkin, “Anything over 200,000 buys is considered a success and HBO is very optimistic on the numbers that they’re projecting.”

Whether those projections are realistic or not remains to be seen.

As the old stars fade and new stars are created, their ability to generate pay-per-view revenue becomes a touchstone of their viability. Golovkin looks like a natural in that regard. He’s the opposite of Mayweather both in and out of the ring. Mightily skilled, thankfully he’s no fancy Dan. Triple G comes to fight. That might be considered a good thing, except when all is said and done, villainy may be more compelling than a Kazakh killer who resembles a Boy Scout.

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  1. Martha Barbour 09:48am, 10/16/2015

    Boxing is my favorite sport; used to listen to the Wednesday night fights with my Dad.  I have heard and seen the very best (I’m 74) and Gennady Golovkin is a great fighter and a gentleman to boot.  I love it when he says,:“This is my prize to you ” When he and Canelo match up it will be hard on me because I really love both of them - probably I will be supporting Gennady though.  Saturday night cannot get here soon enough.  By the way the Boxer is my favorite dog, we show them internationally.

  2. KB 12:36pm, 10/13/2015

    Clearly typing was not

  3. KB 12:18pm, 10/13/2015

    Jones does strange things.


  4. Don from Prov 12:05pm, 10/13/2015

    I wasn’t thinking as low as $9.95—

    Wouldn’t HBO survive at $25, $30, or $35 for one GGG + Chocolatito fight?
    (Also: still don’t understand WHY Jones works out at so low a price)


  5. kb 11:53am, 10/13/2015

    Low PPV works for Jones. Like $ 9.95.00 PVV. Low PPV. Otherwise, the demand disappears and so does any hope for a profit,

    At some point the laws of elasticity come into play. You charge that for a GGG PPV outing and your volume (i.e., demand) has to go way over the top. That won’t happen. You price these things to make money. The 49 dollar price for GGG is not a bad price IMO.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:11am, 10/13/2015

    David is making the same very big mistake that Danny Bhoy made with Bracero….actually two mistakes….taking the fight in the first place and more importantly running his mouth and getting GGG very energized and very interested and focused….his only hope was catching GGG by surprise and that’s out of the question now.

  7. Don from Prov 10:20am, 10/13/2015

    Interested: Why does low PPV work ONLY for Roy Jones?

    Did it not work for Chaves Jr. for a while as they built him up?
    And long term—Can it make sense to lose a little at first as someone is developed into a dependable PPV star, erasing the early loss as time passes?

  8. KB 09:00am, 10/13/2015

    Last post meant for Don

  9. KB 08:59am, 10/13/2015

    “...start someone in early PPV fights that are priced low enough to seem unavoidable….” Oxymoron? You have to cover the expenses, hit break even, and then get come profit. Low PPV only works for Roy Jones Jr.

    Still you make a good point here. GGG has been brought up organically and that is very important from a financial standpoint. No flash in the pan like some others—for example the Chinese fighter who was recently beat by the Thai fighter. Organic growth generally rules in most any endeavor and boxing is no exception.

  10. Don from Prov 08:27am, 10/13/2015

    In some precincts Floyd is already fading or happily forgotten—

    But it would seem to me that a better business model would be to start someone in early PPV fights that are priced low enough to seem unavoidable.
    I guess reality says to go for every penny one can go for in HBO-world.
    I may watch this just because, top to bottom, there could be fireworks.

  11. Ted Spoon 07:09am, 10/13/2015

    Americans purchasing this fight should at least be able to assure the undecided that it’s odds on to be the antithesis of a Floyd bout. If everything goes to as I’d like Golovkin will overcome Lemieux in a humdinger and then go onto beat Canelo in a genuine blockbuster. Also, hopefully this three fight per year schedule can be maintained. It’s one of many good things about both Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:01am, 10/13/2015

    “hits hard”....therein lies the rub….unless you’re a physical freak which eliminates most white competitors in this “sport”.....you’ve got to hit hard to even survive in this “sport” let alone excel i.e.hard enough that all the physical advantages your adversary might have fly out the friggin’ window because they’ve just been disconnected from quick twitch central….the Joey Archers of the boxing universe are few and far in between.

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