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Early estimates have Golovkin vs. Jacobs pulling in 130,000-150,000 PPV buys

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Gennady Golovkin’s close decision win over Daniel Jacobs reportedly drew no more than 150,000 buys, the same mark as his PPV debut vs. David Lemieux.

Boxing: Golovkin vs Jacobs Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Gennady Golovkin’s (37-0, 33 KOs) 23-fight KO streak ended, but his undefeated record stayed intact with last Saturday’s close unanimous decision win over Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs). This was GGG’s second appearance as an HBO pay-per-view headliner, and it doesn’t look as if there was any improvement in terms of total buys from his previous PPV. Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times has the early details on the estimates.

If these numbers prove to be true, 150,000 would match his buyrate from the David Lemieux bout in October 2015. Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, never gave out specific buyrate projections, but did expect the Jacobs fight to exceed the Lemieux numbers, and early signs are that it didn’t. For what it’s worth, Golovkin’s team still does expect the final tally to be higher than 150k.

It seems clear to me that HBO’s budget slash has shoved several fights to pay-per-view, when in previous years they would’ve been on the main channel. Both of Golovkin’s PPV fights are prime examples, as well as Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol. Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev was one of the most important fights of 2016, and even that only drew 160,000 buys. With Manny Pacquiao no longer under HBO contract, Canelo Alvarez is the network’s only star who can draw at least 300,000 buys regularly.

As for Golovkin, this is a perfect study in how you can be a star without being a PPV draw. He sells out arenas both in Europe and North America, several of his HBO fights have averaged in excess of one million viewers, but does that translate to fans wanting to pay to watch him on TV? Nope, not really. Unless he fights Canelo Alvarez (who is the obvious A-side), he’s not going to be able to carry a PPV event on his own. The 34-year-old and his team are currently negotiating to fight WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs), who possesses the only major title Golovkin has yet to win. It’s possible that Golovkin-Saunders could be held in Gennady’s home country of Kazakhstan, although Golden Boy Promotions is decidedly not keen on GGG taking another fight before September, as they believe it jeopardizes a potential showdown with Alvarez.

HBO’s next pay-per-view figures to be a much bigger one, as Canelo Alvarez will be facing off against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in an all-Mexican battle on Cinco de Mayo weekend. The fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.