HBO Looks To Rebuild Its Boxing Programming With Frequent Fights Featuring Golovkin
Boxer Gennady Golovkin will make his fourth appearance on HBO in the last 14 months when he fights Curtis Stevens on Saturday night at the Theater at MSG, and he is "almost certainly the most important fighter HBO has," according to Steve Kim of SPORTS ON EARTH. HBO "needs ring stars to rebuild its brand, which has taken a hit over the last few years." This year "has not been a particularly good one for HBO" and its top fighters. The net "ended its partnership with Golden Boy," and while Andre Ward "has been seen on HBO," his "prickly personality hasn't earned him many new fans." Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao was "last seen face-down on the canvas after getting knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez." So HBO has "clearly made a priority of Golovkin, who has a professional mark of 27-0 with 24 knockouts." Not only has the net "given him valuable slots on its airwaves with increasing license fees, but it also erected a billboard" in Times Square "that bears his likeness." Golovkin has "quickly become a fighter with a cult following." His frequent fights have "paid off with increasing audiences on HBO." His first HBO appearance in September '12 against Grzegorz Proksa drew 685,000 live viewers. His January fight against Gabriel Rosado had 813,000 viewers and the telecast of a June bout against Matthew Macklin drew 1.1 million (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 10/30).
READY TO RUMBLE: USA TODAY's Bob Velin writes Golovkin has "become one of America's best, most popular and fun-to-watch boxers." He has been "criticized at times for not fighting the top competition." But K2 Promotions Managing Dir Tom Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin, said that it is "not for lack of trying." Loeffler: "If somebody has a choice to fight somebody else, they will always take a different option (and) try to avoid Gennady." Loeffler added that as Golovkin "gains in popularity, there will be more and more calls for a fight against" the likes of Ward, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Sergio Martinez (USA TODAY, 11/1).