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Garcia: Golovkin undermines his own leverage by fighting on PPV

Mikey Garcia says that fighting on PPV can be a big gamble for a fighter that can hurt one’s brand.

Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz - Weigh-in Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia is no stranger to the business of boxing. He and his family have been deeply rooted in the sport for generations now. And with Garcia now a free agent since obtaining his release from Top Rank which had him on the sidelines for a couple years, he’s been positioning himself strategically to make the most of his remaining career.

Garcia, who was once himself considered as the sports’ next potential PPV star, tells the LA Times that he’s perfectly happy with letting his audience grow naturally as he fights on nationally televised cards instead of pushing the PPV angle.

“Pay-per-view is bit of a gamble. I know people say I could be the next big pay-per-view star. They say that about a lot of fighters,” Garcia said. “To reach that, it takes a lot. Not just fighting skills, but marketing, good promotion.… If [Golovkin-Jacobs] fight doesn’t do good numbers, it doesn’t mean they’re not stars.

Garcia mentions that the current PPV market it simply different and that out of the millions of viewers who might tune-in to watch you fight on free television, only a small fraction of those people would be willing to pay for the privilege on PPV.

Therefore Garcia would rather continue fighting on ‘regular network’ television to increase his exposure to the point where he’ll hopefully be able to leverage good PPV numbers later down the line. Doing so the other way, Garcia says, runs the risk of hurt a fighter’s brand.

“If anything, it probably hurts you because people [who see disappointing numbers] now think you’re not a star. Triple-G [Golovkin] is a great fighter, but his pay-per-view with David Lemieux [in 2015] didn’t do well and now if this one doesn’t do any better, people are going to say he’s not a star.

“So when he wants to negotiate a bigger fight like with Canelo [Alvarez], he’s the B side because his numbers aren’t great. It … hurts him.”

We’ve since learned that the Golovkin-Jacobs fight did roughly 170,000 PPV buys, which is a little better than his first appearance, but hardly indicative of major draw in the sport. And it certainly won’t be the kind of number that will twist Oscar De La Hoya’s arm into giving up a bigger slice of the pie to make a potential Canelo-Golovkin fight.

So tell me fans, do you think Golovkin’s handlers have made any strategic missteps in handling his career thus far? Would Golovkin have been better off fighting regular network television (or premium network television) to continually raise his profile before jumping into the PPV market?

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