Why is a bout featuring one of the world's most popular fighters not on U.S. TV?

Yahoo Sports
Why is a bout featuring one of the world's most popular fighters not on U.S. TV?
Why is a bout featuring one of the world's most popular fighters not on U.S. TV?

Good news if you're a boxing fan hoping to watch Gennady Golovkin's defense of his WBA middleweight title against Osumanu Adama on Saturday in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

The fight will be televised.

It's going to be on SuperSport in Africa and Esporte Inerativo in Brazil. You can catch it on CCTV in China, Channel One in Russia and Box Nation in the U.K. It will also be available on Wowow in Japan as well as in Australia, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Latin America, the Middle East, Poland, Scandinavia, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.

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There are more, but you get the picture: The fight is going to be broadcast around the world.

Golovkin has become one of the world's most exciting and popular fighters over the last two years, and his bouts are quickly becoming like holidays to be celebrated.

[Also: Whether it's a knockout or he's knocked out, Victor Ortiz is must-see TV ]

There will be no celebrating in the U.S., however, because that's one place where the bout won't be televised.

HBO Sports executives, who have witnessed Golovkin's stunningly swift rise to stardom first-hand, tried to work a deal with Rodney Berman, the show's promoter in Monte Carlo.

After a lot of back and forth, however, a suitable deal couldn't be reached, and the fight won't be shown in the U.S.

It's hard to decide whether to be outraged or understanding.

Tom Loeffler of K2, Golovkin's promoter, is one of the sport's truly good guys. Unlike many promoters whose sole objective is to increase the size of their bank accounts, Loeffler is the type who puts finances second (or lower) on his list.

He truly cares about his fighters. He once managed fighters, and handled a quality welterweight named Oba Carr, who was a top contender in the 1990s. Loeffler adored Carr and treated him like he would his own son.

He's much the same with Golovkin. While he understands that Golovkin is a very valuable commodity, Loeffler's motivation is largely the joy he gets from being involved with one of boxing's biggest stars.

Golovkin fought four times in 2013 – three on HBO and once off TV in Monte Carlo – and plans to fight four times again this year.

For that, thank Loeffler. Golovkin, like many boxers, loves to fight, and he's willing to fight as often as possible. That's partly why he's in Monte Carlo.

But if Golovkin were with one of the major U.S. promoters, it's a fairly sure bet he'd only fight twice. They'd hold out for massive purses and make it difficult for HBO to put him on more than twice because of budget realities.

Golovkin is 28-0 with 25 knockouts and probably already the best middleweight in the world. He's still seeking that defining fight, however, that would prove he is the best.

Loeffler and trainer Abel Sanchez consulted and made the decision to allow Golovkin to fight in Monte Carlo as a way of keeping him active and sharp.

HBO didn't have a date for him until April, and if Golovkin had turned down Berman's deal to fight Adama in Monte Carlo, he'd have been off for six months.

"Gennady is popular in the U.S., but he's also popular around the world, and people everywhere want to see him," Loeffler said. "It's an important point to remember, too, that he wanted to be busy and stay active.

"The ability for him to fight in prime time in Europe and the Soviet countries is critical. This is where he's from. They want to see him, too. We're disappointed that his biggest market won't be able to show it, but he's still going to fight three times on HBO this year, and we're going to be chasing the biggest fights we can get for him."

Golovkin, though, much prefers to fight rather than sit around and wait, so he has no issue with taking on a guy who is largely unknown to the vast majority of boxing fans.

Adama is 22-3 with 16 knockouts, but he hasn't beaten anyone remotely as good as Golovkin. Adama is probably best known for losing by a fairly wide margin to former IBF champion Daniel Geale.

"I'm trying to get better and better every time, and I think you can do that best by fighting as often as possible," Golovkin said. "I respect all of my opponents, and Adama is a good fighter. But me, I want to get better and learn something new each time. Of course, I would love to fight [Sergio] Martinez, but the truth is that I am not fighting Martinez now, so I don't think of him.

"I'm fighting Adama and he's tough enough. Plus, I need to be better than I was before."

That's a scary thought. Golovkin was extraordinarily impressive in blowing out Curtis Stevens in eight rounds in November.

He's clearly a superstar in the making, and the Stevens fight drew the third-most viewers to any bout on cable in 2013.

American fans are desperate to see him but are going to be shut out this time.

Given the race for supremacy in boxing broadcasting between Showtime and HBO, Golovkin is a chip that HBO needs to play.

Clearly, the moment Golovkin agreed to fight Adama in Monte Carlo – and Berman was all over Loeffler in New York only moments after Golovkin stopped Stevens – plans should have been made to get his fight televised live in the U.S.

This is a guy we'll tell our children about years from now.

That story, though, won't include any tales of his performance against Adama, no matter how great or spectacular it may be.

If there isn't room on American TV these days for Gennady Golovkin, then the whole system needs to reworked.

This can't be allowed to happen again.

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