Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin was boxing’s breakout star of 2013.
The new darling of HBO’s boxing franchise drew 1.41 million viewers for his Nov. 2 destruction of Curtis Stevens. That was the third-most viewed fight on HBO -- and on all of premium cable -- for the year, trailing only HBO fights involving established stars Miguel Cotto and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and represented yet another increase in Golovkin’s viewership numbers.
But with Golovkin (28-0, 25 KOs) wanting to maintain a busy schedule -- he fought four times last year and hoped to do the same again this year -- K2 promoter Tom Loeffler made a deal for him to fight Osumanu Adama on a Feb. 1 card being put on by South African promoter Rodney Berman in Monte Carlo without HBO’s involvement. It was a similar deal to what Golovkin did last year, when one of his fights was on a Berman card at the same Monte Carlo casino against Nobuhiro Ishida. That fight was on a small American pay-per-view.
But HBO now holds exclusive North American television rights to Golovkin’s fights and initially could not accommodate him in its Feb. 1 schedule, not to mention the network was not too thrilled with Adama (22-3, 16 KOs) as the opponent, even though Adama is a noted tough guy who has never been stopped and gave then-titleholder Daniel Geale a very good fight in 2012.
HBO eventually made the right decision -- perhaps it heard the outcry from fans and media -- and changed its mind, deciding to try to work things out to televise the fight. It made sense since GGG is one of the most exciting fighters in boxing and as hot with the public as they come.
So the plan for the lower-budget fight was for HBO to televise it in the afternoon on its HBO2 channel. The network even planned to send its crew and announcers ringside to Monte Carlo. For weeks, they worked on the logistics. But on Tuesday everyone involved finally realized it was not going to work and pulled the plug.
As ridiculous as it sounds, Golovkin’s fight will not have American television coverage unless something changes drastically in the next two weeks.
“After extensive collective efforts, logistics to produce the fight from Monte Carlo could not be resolved,” HBO said in a statement given to ESPN.com. “We have tried for the past month to find a way to televise Gennady Golovkin vs. Osumanu Adama on Feb. 1 from Monte Carlo.
“Unfortunately, the venue could not accommodate our production needs. We spent weeks looking at creative ways to produce a telecast for the HBO2 service from Monte Carlo and it simply could not get resolved. We are grateful for all the assistance from Tom Loeffler and K2 in trying to get us accommodated.”
The casino seats only 900 and its small size could not handle another broadcast position inside the room and that was a huge issue, according to HBO. The casino could not even accommodate an HBO production truck in order to do the transmission of the event.
If Golovkin wins, he is due back on HBO on April 26 from the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he fought two of his fights last year. But if you want to watch the Feb. 1 fight you’ll unfortunately have to hunt for a stream on the Internet.