Gennady Golovkin vs David Lemieux is booked for HBO pay-per-view on Oct. 17, and there’s a lot to like: These are two of the five best middleweights in the world, both are exciting quantities and it’s sure to end in a sensational knockout.
But there are some cons: It’s on pay-per-view, it might not be competitive and it might not lead to what HBO wants it to lead to.
Let’s break each of those things down.
- Best middleweights. Golovkin (above left) is the #1 middleweight behind lineal champ Miguel Cotto, and Lemieux (above right) clocks in at #4. Putting the best against the best isn’t a guarantee of a great fight, but high-level competition has a lot going for it, and that’s what we’re getting here. This is arguably Golovkin’s best opponent to date, although maybe you could say that’s Martin Murray, and the more Golovkin is tested the better for us all, because he’s won most of his fights pretty easily.
- Exciting quantities. That Golovkin and Lemieux put on a show is part of what has made them popular here and in Canada, respectively. Their styles should mesh really well. Both like to sling big power punches, both are hittable.
- Sensational knockout guaranteed. Together, these dudes have 61 knockouts in 69 fights. That kind of power being jammed into the ring at once is almost unheard of.
- Pay-per-view. I This doesn’t appear to be a case where a pay-per-view was the only way the fight got made purse-wise, which is among the most excusable reasons for that to happen. Instead, it seems to be about proving a point about Golovkin’s popularity. It’s not expected to even do particularly big numbers, so it’s not like it’s about tapping much revenue that wouldn’t otherwise be coming in. The other idea here looks to be that it could, at some point in the future, lead to being able to lure bigger-name opponents in the ring with Golovkin, but we’ll get to that in a second.
- Not so competitive. This one really isn’t anyone’s fault. Golovkin is facing the best middleweight he can get into the ring, and while he’s pump-faked about moving up to super middleweight (this writer still wants Golovkin-Andre Ward most for both men, which is the only true test for either of them at 168), the idea seems to be to stay at middleweight unless a bigger-money option calls. And really, at 160, it’s hard to think of a more competitive opponent than Lemieux. Champ Cotto doesn’t figure to give Golovkin much trouble; even if Peter Quillin wanted it, his style theoretically would give Golovkin trouble at his best but Quillin is not guarantee of turning in a good performance on any given night; and Andy Lee would get smashed.
- Unfulfilled HBO plans. HBO’s Jim Lampley suggested Saturday we could get a “Four Kings” situation with the winner of Golovkin-Lemieux facing the winner of Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez. Set aside the fact that such hyperbole does the idea no favors; these guys ain’t Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran. It is a great plan, but it might never happen. Cotto’s lack of interest in Golovkin while continuing to fight as a middleweight-in-name-only is embarrassing, which, again, isn’t Golovkin’s fault; Canelo has seemed more willing to face Golovkin, but it’s hard to imagine why, because he’s more of a junior middleweight who keeps fighting at 155 pounds for some reason. That said, could more PPV lucre have a better chance of luring the winner of Cotto-Canelo into the ring? Sure. If it happens, then the PPV gamble here pays off. If it doesn’t, we’re paying for a failed gamble, because there’s nothing else for Golovkin left worth paying PPV prices for at 160.
The pros are shorter than the cons because they’re self-evident. They require little elaboration. All in all, Gennady Golovkin vs David Lemieux an easy fight to be excited about, even with the cons.