It might seem old-fashioned, but Gennady Golovkin has a refreshing approach to building his star power in boxing -- fight all the best champions in their prime and try to unify one of the sport's marquee divisions. The IBO and WBA Super World middleweight champion Saturday finalized a deal to fight new IBF champion David Lemieux on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden.
It will be Golovkin's long-awaited debut on HBO pay-per-view. Tom Loeffler, who is managing director of K2 Promotions, said the PPV show will be a co-promotion with Golden Boy, which handles Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs), who won the IBF title by unanimous decision over Hassan N'Dam last month, scoring four knockdowns.
The undefeated Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) scored his 20th straight stoppage with a sixth-round TKO over Willie Monroe Jr. in May, so, the unification bout with Lemieux offers plenty of firepower. "It's the two biggest punchers in the division," Loeffler said. "Neither one is going to go backwards.
"Whenever you can get two champions to fight each other where they have everything on the line and there's no rematch clause, it's all or nothing. That's what really provides excitement for the fans."
Golovkin has had a difficult time getting the top fighters to face him, but in this case, Loeffler said, "We put an offer on the table that Golden Boy couldn't refuse. David Lemieux will be the highest-paid middleweight for his first defense in the history of the sport.
"It's always been Gennady's goal to unify the middleweight division. The first step was to get the WBC interim title so we were forcing [Miguel] Cotto into fighting him. This is the next step where he can unify the IBF title."
As WBC interim middleweight champ, Golovkin is the mandatory challenger. Loeffler said Golovkin agreed to take a step-aside fee to allow Cotto to face Canelo Alvarez with the understanding that the winner must face Golovkin in his next fight. Should they refuse, Golovkin automatically becomes full WBC champion.
Golovkin has followed a long road in building his name recognition and drawing power, but he's finally reached a position where the top fighters can't avoid him. "Now, he's one of the most marketable fighters in the sport, and we have to use that position to put these fights together," Loeffler said. "David Lemieux is the first step in that process."
"I think Gennady is one of the few boxers in the sport today that can unify all the major titles because of his activity and his marketability."