By Edward Chaykovsky
WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 KOs) is looking for the biggest fights possible, but he has no interest in headlining a pay-per-view event.
The pay-per-view landscape has changed from years past and it's become a lot harder to convince consumers.
There is also the huge issue with piracy, which continues to grow with new innovations to stream pay-per-view events for free through websites and now even on social media.
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. retiring from the sport in 2015, and Manny Pacquiao inching close to his own retirement, boxing is searching for the next pay-per-view star in the United States.
The closest thing to a PPV star at the moment, is Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who had around 900,000 buys for his win over Miguel Cotto in November 2015 and then close to 500,000 for his win over Amir Khan in May 2016.
No other boxer has even come close to Canelo's figures.
Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin is the latest fighter to embark on the journey of becoming a potential pay-per-view star. His first pay-per-view, in the fall of 2015 against David Lemieux, did around 150,000 buys. His second pay-per-view, against Daniel Jacobs two weeks ago, didn't do much higher with GGG's team claiming around 170,000 buys.
The figures by Golovkin are a far cry from the days where Mayweather and Pacquiao were generating over a million buys on a regular basis for their pay-per-view events.
Garcia believes Golovkin's low pay-per-view figures have now hurt his negotiating power for a September fight with Canelo, who already started questioning Golovkin's claim of being a legitimate superstar.
“Pay-per-view is bit of a gamble. I know people say I could be the next big pay-per-view star. They say that about a lot of fighters,” Garcia said to the Los Angeles Times.
“To reach that, it takes a lot. Not just fighting skills, but marketing, good promotion.… If [Saturday’s Golovkin-Jacobs] fight doesn’t do good numbers, it doesn’t mean they’re not stars. It’s just that the pay-per-view market is different. Right now, some fighters would rather be showcased on a free network to reach that bigger audience. That’s a guaranteed success in hopes of one day fighting the right guy and turn that into a pay-per-view.
“Why take the pay-per-view gamble? I don’t need to do that. If anything, it probably hurts you because people [who see disappointing numbers] now think you’re not a star. Triple-G [Golovkin] is a great fighter, but his pay-per-view with David Lemieux didn’t do well and now if this one doesn’t do any better, people are going to say he’s not a star. So when he wants to negotiate a bigger fight like with Canelo, he’s the B side because his numbers aren’t great. It … hurts him.”