It is clear that Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight title(s) defense against David Lemieux is a big deal. The presale tickets have sold well, and the overall buzz amongst New York fight fans — who are fortunate enough that the fight landed at Madison Square Garden — is heightening. It isn’t really a question of who will win, but that doesn’t seem to matter because the likelihood of the fighter we expect victorious is almost as great as the certainty that it will be an exciting fight.
The one question that continues to be debated is whether or not this fight is worthy of PPV.
Golovkin-Lemieux will be on HBO PPV on October 17th. The fight will take place in one of boxing’s most prestigious venues and the news of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez defending his flyweight title against Brian Viloria has only served to enhance the excitement, not to mention the validation for PPV.
Obviously, there are two sides of the debate. You are either against the fight being PPV because Golovkin has fought no one that justifies him as this type of “A-side” and Lemieux is not even close to a commercially recognized “B-Side,” or you are “for” the fight being a PPV because you understand that Golovkin’s numbers correlate with him being a legitimate draw in today’s boxing.
The reason that you are actually “for” the fight being PPV and not just okay with it is because you understand Golovkin’s place as an attraction compared to the top cash cows in boxing, and you know what Lemieux represents as an opponent. Lemieux is the toughest test Golovkin has faced, but more than that he is riding an authentic momentum that is greater and more recognized than any other previous Triple G opponent.
The truth about this debate and the people on each side of the argument is they are both wrong. Both sides are being blinded by their personal feelings towards the combatants in the main event, whether those feelings are negative or positive.
Both sides are failing to understand the unbiased truth regarding this PPV. First, the people for it are not considering how this fight stacks up with other HBO PPVs and World Championship Boxing main events. To suggest that this fight is worth the money fails to bring up the question of whether or not we should have to ask that question in the first place. Being okay with paying for this fight or even not being okay but admitting that you will pay for it is one thing, but to actually argue that this fight should be PPV is ridiculous.
As for the fans against the PPV, I’m even more disappointed in them. It’s fine if you’re disappointed in Golovkin-Lemieux being PPV, but failing to understand the logic behind the PPV makes you one of two things: a hater or unaware of how the business of boxing actually works.
First, you have to understand that Golovkin’s ratings and ticket sales make him one of boxing biggest attractions and outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Golovkin is probably the biggest attraction in boxing. However, we can’t be sure how far he is away from those previously mentioned names until he gets the opportunity to compare numbers in full.
For all we know, Golovkin might be as popular as most of the aforementioned fighters, but he needs to test the waters. This is K2 (Golovkin’s promoter), HBO, and Golovkin’s attempt at testing his full drawing power. We can’t hate on their belief in Golovkin, and we have to understand how impressive he’s been at packing them in thus far in his career without an “A-side” type opponent giving him a chance.
That leads me to my next point, which is none of the other aforementioned fighters are giving Golovkin the chance. No one is saying that Lemieux is the biggest opponent for Golovkin, but he is the biggest opponent in both availability and willingness.
That said, Golovkin and Lemieux will be a tremendous fight, and it represents a matchup between two of the biggest punchers in boxing that can actually be made. It will be an exciting fight (while it lasts). That offers us an interesting notion when compared to the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
Is it better to pay for a fight between two huge stars that won’t offer much in terms of excitement? Or do we feel more satisfied spending our money on a guaranteed fight packed with excitement, and one with a high probability of a sensational ending? I think the latter has to be considered, and at the very least you have to empathize with those who feel their money is better spent on action, regardless of the competitors’ degree of commercial appeal.
To say that this fight should be a PPV is a flawed notion because nothing has to be paid for if it can be free, which technically HBO isn’t free anyway. HBO has access to fewer fighters today than it probably ever has, and it is producing fewer cards than previous years. Not to mention that for the first time in a long time HBO is losing to a competitor when it comes to total cards at the world-class level.
As subscribers, we deserve as many big time fights on HBO as possible. That being said if Golovkin-Lemieux is only possible this year on HBO PPV being that it is taking place at the end of the year when the budget is close to capacity.
However, to be so against the idea of Golovkin-Lemieux landing on PPV that you diminish the fight all together then you are no longer logically critical. This is a great fight, and by putting aside the idea of PPV you start to realize it is one of the best fights this year.
What were PPVs meant for if not the most exciting fights in a calendar year? It seems a little easier to understand when you consider that the matchup being offered is between two of the most exciting fighters in boxing.
However, getting stuck on the notion that PPV fights must showcase a fighter universally recognized in the commercial setting will blind you to the reason a fighter should be widely acknowledged in the first place. Over the past several years, the biggest fighter in boxing hasn’t been the most exciting, and some fans have lost touched with the idea of what makes an attraction. Let’s hope that Golovkin brings in a new era of PPV fighters and redefines the criteria entirely.