By Ivan G. Goldman
The Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux numbers will tell us more about how badly the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao “super-fight” poisoned the well for pay-per view presentations.
The much-vaunted, long-awaited welterweight farce on May 2 – a fight that seemed like it took centuries to put together — sold for a record $100 to residential customers, creating 4.4 million dissatisfied customers. Viewers saw limited action over 12 boring rounds and then learned that Pacquiao entered the ring with an injured right shoulder that he said was useless after the fourth round.
Team Pacquiao collected more than $100 million after hiding the problem as long as it could, even failing to report it to the Nevada commission.
Meanwhile defense-master Mayweather apparently received at least one secret injection of what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency contended later were perfectly legal chemicals. But USADA didn’t inform the Nevada commission about the shot or shots for weeks. Their existence was reported by Thomas Hauser, who used to write negative stories about HBO until the network hired him as a “consultant” and the flow of bad stuff stopped. Mayweather’s adviser, boxing godfather, no-interviews-under-any-circumstances Al Haymon, is apparently a good customer of USADA.
HBO is of course an arch-rival of Showtime, which stole Mayweather from HBO. Hauser apparently has no misgivings about writing ugly stuff about Showtime or Showtime fighters.
But I digress. The Saturday night showdown between Kazakhstan native Golovkin, 33-0, 30 KOs, and Montreal favorite Lemieux, 34-2, 31 KOs, looks to be an excellent match between two solid middleweight title holders, with Golovkin favored.
But except for Mayweather’s outing against Andre Berto September 12, the pay-per-view waters have been pretty much untested since fans were disappointed by the money-grubbing spectacle in May, which earned a fortune for all the players, including HBO and Showtime, and screwed the customers.
That show was such a greedy grab that even the seat prices were concealed beneath an opaque veil of bogus information. The MGM Grand announced a list of prices for seats that were basically unavailable. Tickets were almost all distributed to the hotel, the networks, and the fight camps, which sold them to scalping agencies that set the real prices.
Speaking of false numbers, the networks don’t announce honest PPV prices. They release the cheaper analog price on all their press materials even though almost no one is interested in anything but the high-def feed.
Rick Glaser, a credible long-time promoter, manager, and agent, says his well-placed sources informed him that Mayweather-Andre Berto, the boring twelve-rounder fought last month on Showtime that followed the boring 2 twelve-rounder May 2, drew 389,000 PPV buys at $75 a pop.
Now comes Golovkin-Lemieux. HBO, aware of the negative PPV sentiment, has priced its show at a more reasonable $60.
Fans don’t much care which network presents a fight as long as it’s entertaining, but give them enough snore-mongering spectacles and you can’t pique their interest anymore. After all, there are other sports. The GGG-Lemieux title unification comes at us right in the middle of the major league baseball playoffs.
Golovkin-Lemieux in Madison Square Garden promises a more enticing undercard than we’re used to lately, with WBC flyweight champ Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez defending his title against rugged but aging Brian Viloria. Will fans bite?
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available now from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.