By Jake Donovan
Gennady Golovkin and Roman Gonzalez will appear on the show for the third straight time with this weekend’s offering at The Forum in Inglewood, California. It’s where boxing’s match made in heaven began less than a year ago and for the third straight time will play to a capacity crowd.
The show will air live on HBO (Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT) in front of what event handlers insist will be a record-breaking crowd at the famed venue. Golovkin (34-0, 31KOs) will defend his slew of middleweight belts versus unbeaten mandatory challenger Dominic Wade, while Gonzalez (44-0, 38KOs) puts his World flyweight championship and mythical pound-for-pound crown on the line versus Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 8KOs).
“We're expecting over 16,000 people at The Forum on Saturday night,” Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions informed media during a recent conference call to promote the event. “We're over 15,000 tickets sold right now. It should the biggest show in California in a while.”
The pairing of arguably the best two boxers in the world today began at The Forum last May. Golovkin scored a 6th round knockout of crafty but overmatched middleweight Willie Monroe Jr., while Gonzalez made his long-awaited HBO debut with a scintillating 2nd round knockout of former 108 lb. titlist Edgar Sosa.
The event played to a sold-out crowd, which was scaled to fit just over 12,000 patrons. Ticket pre-sales were so strong for this weekend’s offering that more seats were made available to satisfy the growing demand of watching Golovkin and Gonzalez in action .
“It will be the highest capacity for any boxing event since The Forum was renovated,” notes Loeffler. “It's been a fantastic pairing. The fans really respond when they see the #1 and #2 on the same show. It's the third time they will appear on the same show together.”
As successful as has been the venture, it could be the last time fans get to experience boxing’s dynamic duo on the same show. They also proved to be a smash hit last October, each scoring knockout wins in high profile fights in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Golovkin drilled David Lemieux in eight one-sided rounds during their middleweight title unification clash, while Gonzalez overcame brief moments of difficulty early in the fight to wear down and stop former two-division champ Brian Viloria in nine rounds.
For the second straight fight, Gonzalez is matched against an Olympic boxer. As Viloria represented the United States in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Arroyo served alongside twin brother McJoe on – and also served as the flag bearer for - Team Puerto Rico for the 2008 Beijing games.
While Gonzalez is a considerable favorite to prevail on Saturday, he could have his hands full with a solid boxer who boasts underrated punching power. A win – particularly one in spectacular fashion – could very well lead to this being the final time we see the sport’s best boxer in the world perform in supporting capacity.
“If everything goes the right way - and it's a very difficult fight versus McWilliams - then he's definitely earned the right to become a main event fighter,” Loeffler believes.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox