WBA and IBO middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin dominated and stopped Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Golovkin stunned Rubio in the first then finished him off in Round 2 with a stunning left hook to the top of the head.
But Golovkin is sick and tired of chopping down the Rubio trees of the world. He wants big fights, against the likes of big stars like Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Canelo Alvarez.
According to Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, those fights would likely be on HBO PPV should they occur in 2015 as Golovkin and team hope.
“I think in order for him to be on PPV, he needs the right dance partner. There’s only a few guys that would warrant that. It’s pretty clear who those guys are: Canelo, Cotto, Chavez. Those are pretty much the guys that would warrant a PPV fight [at middleweight].”
But is a Golovkin-headlined PPV bout something HBO is planning in 2015?
“PPV is very opportunist,” said HBO Sports senior VP Mark Taffet. “Rather than plan for PPV, it’s more relevant to describe it as seizing the opportunity when it’s in front of you. And for Gennady, that could happen in 2015 on any one of a number of fronts. But it needs to happen in its own course.”
Taffet said Golovkin was set to fight Chavez on HBO PPV earlier this year but the fight fell through.
“We had discussed, with Tom Loeffler and Bob Arum, Gennady vs. Chavez for a number of months. The deal was reached between the promoters. But it didn’t come to fruition on the Chavez side, between Top Rank and Chavez. So as a result the fight didn’t happen. But that would have been Gennady’s first PPV.”
Taffet said PPVs aren’t exactly thought out the way you and I think of them. Rather, HBO and the promoters study the economics of the proposed bout closely to see if the expected revenue of the fight extends past typical HBO license fees. If so, they work together to put together a PPV.
Taffet said it was a year-round dialogue.
“It’s a frequent conversation that takes place here at HBO with Ken Hershman, myself, Peter Nelson and boxing promoters. We talk about a menu of potential opportunities, the optimal timing for various fights, as well as those fights, because of their economic potential, which might be PPV candidates.”
Nelson, HBO Sports VP of programming, said it was part of HBO’s role in Golovkin’s career to help him get the kinds of fights he wants, including PPV bouts.
“The responsibility of a network, in part, is to try to help athletes succeed in their endeavors. What that means in terms of trajectory…is about the path we all are pursuing together. If fans are willing to pay money today to see him fight at StubHub, then that’s an indication that people are willing to part with the money they earned to watch this man in action. “
Nelson said a fan’s willingness to pay to see a fighter in person isn’t the only factor in the equation, but certainly a necessary component in a fighter’s progression toward a PPV date.
Nelson said people expect big things from Golovkin because he seems so intent on fighting the very best opponents. While Team Golovkin has struggled to find willing participants to step inside the ring against him, Loeffler said HBO’s increased financial commitment to Golovkin would help them secure the bouts fans want to see in 2015.
Still, it takes two to make a fight happen, and Loeffler said Golovkin was content to continue to drum up interest in megafights on regular HBO should circumstances outside their control warrant it.
“If not, Gennady is content to continue his name and his reputation on HBO. He gets now some of the highest ratings on the network.”
Nelson said working with Golovkin was easy from a programming perspective because he was truly willing to fight anyone from 154 to 168 pounds. He said many fighters and promoters say the same thing but don’t actually mean it when it comes down to it. Golovkin means it.
Nelson seemed as anxious as the rest of us to see Golovkin in the ring against top-notch competition.
“At the end of the day, what’s created so many stars in boxing so many times has been fighters who have upending the expectations people had. So is there someone out there who can provide the kind of test for him that nobody is expecting?”
Taffet thinks so. He mentioned other PPV possibilities as well for Golovkin that were above the middleweight limit of 160 pounds.
“Carl Froch is another one people talk about for Gennady,” said Taffet. “You can look at Cotto, Canelo, Chavez, Andre Ward—even a few years down the road potential fights with Bernard Hopkins or Sergey Kovalev. Gennady has a tremendous range of opportunities and the sky’s the limit.”
A Golovkin rise to PPV stardom would be unlike any other in boxing history. Well, except for the fact that boxing is full of rises unlike any others in boxing history.
“There has never been a fighter from Kazakhstan who became a PPV attraction,” said Nelson. “But boxing is a sport that is full of never-beens and firsts. There’s never been a Filipino PPV attraction prior to Manny Pacquiao. And we see that one of the great things that great athletes and great artists do is that they’re permission givers.”
So will we see a GGG PPV in 2015? That part remains unclear as of now. But what everyone seems to be on the same page about is this: Golovkin will be an active fighter seeking bouts against the very best competition.
HBO likes that, and fans should, too.
“It always comes down to putting great fights in front of consumers,” said Nelson. “That’s what people want to see. Athletes are competitors, and people want to see great competition.”
Golovkin has shown himself to be a great competitor. Let’ s hope the powers that be can drum up some great competition for him in 2015.