Nah, boxing isn’t dead, I thought to myself, as I watched the principals who’ll clash Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden, in the capital of the world, New York City, have their say at a Tuesday presser.
Diminished from hey-days, sure, but this is an age of change and transition and I can name a thousand things and entities that are more nichified now, aren’t such a mainstream mass-appeal draw. But dead, DOA, no way, not with the extreme and pleasing reaction, if you are promoter K2 and Golden Boy, to the entry into the pay-per-view realm for Gennady Golovkin, who’ll get his chin tested by David “Captain Caveman” Lemiueux, a fellow middleweight with a selfsame penchant for bomb-throwing.
More than 15,000 seats sold less than a week after tix went on sale, a sellout a certainty, all for one fella who was known only to the hardcore four years ago and another who shrugged off two losses, dedicated himself to the craft for maybe the first time….yeah, no DOA tag for this sport.
OK, could the sport be in a better place? Sure; the PPV model puts excess pressure upon Joe Q. Fan to carry the financial load to be a rooter. The cost to see this scrap will be $49.95, which is not as high as it could be, I found myself thinking when the price was put out there. I think I was somewhat accepting of the construct because I feel like these guys get it, that they comprehend that there’s no reason not to stack the card, put on four solid on-paper fights. After all, in a restaurant, does the A grade steakhouse throw stale rolls and iceberg lettuce with Wishbone dressing at you, and finish off with a popsicle, because they know their t-bone is to die for?That is a rehorical question…
I was impressed by the mood in the room, and the interplay between the teams. Tom Loeffler of K2, who should win promoter of the year from the BWAA next year, presided, and there was no sniping, veiled or outward, as Golovkin, as always genial and humble, and Lemieux, sporting a hipster wide-Mohawk, both promised a good bang for the buck for the fans. “There will be blood,” said Lemiuex, age 26, who in the recent past has promised thunder and lightning and mayhem, but this time dialed it back, comprehending that Triple G is a different animal than the Rosados and N’Dams he’s handled. The mood was light and upbeat, and the two bombers even broke into grins during the staredown. They both know this one has lit a fire under fans, especially since there is hope in the air that the winner will meet the winner of the Nov. 21 Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez fight.
Golovkin told me this one could easily go the distance, though other fight game pundits are thinking it could be a Hagler-Hearns sort of eruption.
Both men aren’t sure who who will win Cotto-Canelo…but Lemieux is sure that fight should be at 160, not a catchweight, of 155 or less.
Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez said he thinks highly of Lemieux’ cajones, and power, but believes Curtis Stevens has better pop that Lemieux, who he thinks has more thudding than snappish pop.
Loeffler said Team Golovkin wanted a reasonable price point, to maximize buys, and also a solid undercard, to give value.
Lemieux promoter Camille Estephan, of Eye of the Tiger, said that come Oct. 18, there will be countless copycats sporting Lemieux hair-dos, after his kid scores the upset.
Lemieux admitted that he did say to himself, “already?”, when offered this bout…but because he has a warrior heart, he thought about it and said yes, I want the opportunity to show I’m the better man.
Lemieux told us that he’s pinching himself, getting here. He smoked cigarettes at age 9..and now to be a world class athlete headlining at MSG. Goosebumps…
Golovkin still didn’t talk trash. He doesn’t admit to thinking maybe he will lose, but he doesn’t talk up his prospects for victory, and he said he’s looking forward to giving fans entertainment: it will be “amazing history” on Oct. 17, he said.
All told, the vibe was sort of anti-Mayweather for me. Bragging and posturing and veiled and stated barbs weren’t thrown about. The humility and appreciation for the place of the stage was real, not staged, and a trillion sponsors weren’t thanked, so boredom was minimized.