By Ivan G. Goldman
The middleweight bout between cement-fisted Gennady Golovkin and his latest challenger, Marco Antonio Rubio, is completely sold out, says the promoter. That sets a record for the venue, the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“There’s not another seat to be had” for the October 18 show,” said Bernie Bahrmasel, K2 Promotions publicist.
The venue has come close before, but after eleven years of boxing shows, this will be its first sellout.
“It’s an even bigger achievement when you realize Gennady sold the same number of seats in his previous fight, which was in New York,” said Bahrmasel. “There a lot of guys who can sell seats in one particular place, but Gennady is a nationwide phenomenon.”
He said Golovkin, who’s trained in the mountains of Big Bear, California, for more than four years, has attended many fights in the StubHub Center (formerly the Home Depot Center) and “loves the energy of the place.” He also made sure tickets were affordable, said Bahrmasel. There were some $25 tickets, but they went fast. This will be Triple G’s first California appearance. The venue is about a dozen miles south of downtown L.A. California fans, Bahrmasel said, have asked Golovkin for years why he never competes on the West Coast.
Bahrmasel assumed, of course, that it was Golovkin, 30-0 (27 KOs), who’s the draw, not his opponent, who’s 59-6-1 (51 KOs). But Rubio is a battler who can hit, and that never hurts sales. Also, he hails from Mexico. A significant percentage of StubHub fans tend to be Hispanic.
John Frierson, chairman of the state commission, was pleased to see what’s shaping up as a successful show. He said Golovkin generates tremendous excitement for a fighter “who really hasn’t fought anybody” significant. But Frierson noted that the lack of big names on his roster isn’t for lack of trying. Other world-class fighters always seem to prefer other activities.
Rubio has come up short against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Kelly Pavlik, and Kassim Ouma, among others.
Also on the HBO show, Nonito Donaire, 33-2 (21 KOs), will defend his WBA featherweight title against Jamaica’s Nicholas Walters, 24-0 (20 KOs).
Bahrmasel wasn’t sure just how many tickets were sold, but said the number would be somewhere above 8,000. The venue, which is next to the stadium where the L.A. Galaxy plays soccer, was built with tennis in mind but works just as well for boxing. Even the cheapest seats are relatively close to the action. HBO executives will no doubt be delighted that their cameras won’t have to avoid focusing on dead spots where seats couldn’t be sold.
The Triple G brand is still building. HBO pulled in about 1 million viewers when he stopped Daniel Geale in July. That’s not exceptional for a card that was given away to all the network’s subscribers. Golovkin, a Kazakhstan native, is already 32, and may not have many peak years left. His trainer Abel Sanchez contends he’s the best fighter in the world.
Fans are “attracted to the way he fights,” said Bahrmasel, who likened Triple G to Mike Tyson, the modern standard of exciting punchers with genuine talent and kayo power in both fists. “You don’t know exactly what you’re going to see, but you know it will be exciting. In that last fight against Geale, everyone was waiting for something big to happen, and sure enough, it happened. He got tagged and dropped his man almost in the same motion.”
That was in the third and last round of a scheduled twelve-rounder. Geale, who refused to run, paid a price.
The WBC has ordered its title holder Miguel Cotto to fight the winner of Golovkin-Rubio, but Cotto and his trainer Freddie Roach may be more interested in going after junior middleweight Canelo Alvarez, who holds no significant title these days but sells tickets. Golovkin holds the WBA middleweight belt.
New York Times best-selling author Ivan G. Goldman’s Sick Justice: Inside the American Gulag was released in 2013 by Potomac Books. Watch for The Debtor Class: A Novel from Permanent Press in spring, 2015. More information here.