WBA Middleweight Champion, Gennady Golovkin's impressive eighth-round stoppage of Curtis Stevens on HBO drew the third-largest audience for a boxing match on cable in 2013. According to Nielsen Media Research, it averaged 1.41 million viewers.
Unsurprisingly, fans favourite Miguel Cotto's comeback performance, a 3rd round TKO victory Delvin Rodriguez, takes top stop after attracting an average viewership of 1.555 million viewers. In second place, is another fighter with a fanatical fan following- Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, whose controversial victory over Bryan Vera yielded average viewing figures of 1.416 million.
Incidentally, Chavez Jnr is a name which is perennially in the hat of potential opponents for Golovkin, whose devastating form in 2013 - 4 straight stoppage victories- has earned him the moniker of ‘most avoided man in boxing’.
The seemingly negative correlation between the risk of physical punishment and reward of financial profit when fighting Gennady Golovkin explains the aversion of his fellow middleweight titleholders to engage in combat with the 31 year old, Kazakh, who has knocked out his last 15 opponents.
However, there soon may not be such an imbalance in the relationship between the risk and reward of facing Golovkin- as the recent figures prove that he is gaining greater popularity and entering into the public consciousness of American network televisions audiences. Third place in the viewing rankings is no mean feat, especially considering his contest with Stevens was only his 4th fight in on American soil, after making his US debut on September, 2012.
What Golovkin needs, is a major scalp- a popular fighter with a great fanbase, who will help raise his profile and popularity among the boxing television audiences in America.
If HBO’s viewing figures are an accurate indication, then Chavez is that opponent.
And although Chavez is not the unification bout he craves, he would be a notable feather on his cap that offers maximum exposure by virtue of his famous fighting name and loyal fan base.
If Chavez is to be one of ‘GGG’s opponents in 2014, his profile will rise precipitously in the United States. If he were to knock him out, the rise would be meteoric.
Golovkins promoter, K2 Promotions supremo, Tom Loeffler, has recently expressed his desire to make the fight happen. Loeffler stated to ESPN, “Longer-range, Gennady has always wanted to fight [Sergio] Martinez, Chavez Jr. Chavez says he can’t make 160 pounds anymore, which is fine. We would fight him at 168 if that’s what he wants. Gennady believes he is the best middleweight champion right now and he wants to prove it.”
Statements like that, allied to Golovkins announcement that he plans to replicate his fight schedule in 2013 by again fighting four times in the coming year, are clear statements of his intentions to make 2014 the year her breaks into boxing superstardom.
If he manages to entice the likes of Chavez Jnr into the ring, then it is a safe bet that Golovkin will scale new heights in the sport of boxing in 2014.
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