The Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux middleweight title unification fight on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York generated "just over" 150,000 pay-per-view buys, K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler told ESPN.com on Thursday night.
The HBO PPV fight, which Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs), a Kazakhstan native living in Los Angeles, won by dominant eighth-round knockout of Montreal's Lemieux (34-3, 31KOs) to unify 160-pound world titles, was the first pay-per-view appearance for both fighters. The pay-per-view generated more than $8 million in revenue.
"It will do just over 150,000 buys, which was the number we originally based things on when we talked to [Lemieux promoter] Golden Boy about making the fight to determine how much Lemieux would need and what Gennady would need," Loeffler said.
During the buildup to the fight, Loeffler was bullish that the event could exceed their initial expectations because of how much buzz the fight was getting and the fact that they sold out Madison Square Garden. But faced with tremendous competition from college football games and a popular National League Championship Series between the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs -- involving two huge markets -- the fight suffered, Loeffler said.
"I thought it would have a good chance to break 200,000, but with all the college football games and no way to predict the Mets would be playing the Cubs -- a high-end playoff series -- it was tough," he said. "A lot of people were watching baseball in those big markets, but overall, we were happy with the event. When you can sell every single ticket to Madison Square Garden and generate a gate of over $2 million, you're happy."
HBO Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet, who runs HBO PPV, said the event was a strong first-time pay-per-view effort for Golovkin, regarded by many as a future face of boxing in the wake of Floyd Mayweather's retirement last month.
"Golovkin-Lemieux met or exceeded every benchmark of success which was set going into the event," Taffet told ESPN.com. "The PPV buys solidly met expectations even amidst the Mets-Cubs national telecast registering the highest-ever TBS baseball playoff viewership, including the PPV-critical markets of New York and Chicago. This, combined with the palpable excitement of the sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden and the in-ring performances by Gennady Golovkin and [co-feature winner Roman] 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez, encourage us that the next great era of boxing has begun and will continue with the highly-anticipated [Miguel] Cotto-Canelo [Alvarez)] megafight on Nov. 21."
Loeffler said he knew he was taking a risk by putting Golovkin on pay-per-view, especially against an opponent who had only appeared once previously on HBO and did not have a big name in the United States.
"But we've always taken risks to get Gennady where he's at," Loeffler. "And so we thought it was the right step at this point. It was worth it. We generated a lot of money with the pay-per-view, delay rights from HBO, the closed circuit and the international revenue.
"A lot of people focus on the American market, but he had one of the highest rated international shows in the U.K. on BoxNation, on SAT.1 in Germany and the biggest channel in Russia. He was also on Polsat, the biggest channel in Poland, for the first time. And on top of that, the Garden told us we broke the merchandise record for any boxing event there: over $122,000."
Loeffler said Golovkin will continue to appear on HBO as well as on HBO PPV, depending on the level of fight.
"He is the type of fighter who can fight on HBO and still have a significant budget or have a big fight on pay-per-view," Loeffler said. "I thought we gave the fans a lot of value with considering the ticket prices and the price of the pay-per-view. It was their first time on pay-per-view, and even though we thought it might break 200,000, we certainly don't look at it as a negative. The fight still generated more than the license fee would have been from HBO, and the international sales were very strong, as were our sponsorships."
HBO will replay the fight, along with the co-feature -- flyweight champion and pound-for-pound king Gonzalez (44-0, 38 KOs) scoring a ninth-round knockout of former unified titleholder Brian Viloria (36-5, 22 KOs) - on Saturday night (9:30 ET/PT). The replays will precede live coverage of junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (26-0, 18 KOs), the 2014 fighter of the year, making the first defense against Montreal-based Hatian Dierry Jean (29-1, 20 KOs) at the CenturyLink Center in Crawford's hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.