Boxing

The Race to Retire Pacquiao and Golovkin

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There’s nothing a promoter likes more than a perfect risk vs. reward setup for his fighter.

For those unfamiliar with the risk vs. reward dynamic in boxing matchmaking, it’s basically an effort to maximize the reward your fighter gets from beating an opponent who presents the least amount of acceptable risk. In other words– getting full credit for beating someone who isn’t a “full credit” kind of opponent.

There are many ways to do this, but the oldest and maybe best way is to match your fighter against a legendary figure with a legendary body of work, who is well past his prime and right on the verge of falling to pieces.

This is very common in boxing and a case could be made that every star has benefited from this kind of matchmaking. Floyd Mayweather beat a well past-prime Oscar De La Hoya to get to the next level of stardom. Manny Pacquiao also used De La Hoya to do that. We could go on and on with names of stars who beat older stars and used that win as a piggyback ride to next level success.

Well, that strategy is a double-edged sword because, while a fighter may have benefited from that matchmaking on the way up, he’s also subject to it as he’s headed on the way out.

Right now, the 42-year-old Pacquiao and the 38-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin are wearing that target on their backs as veteran stars who may just need one last push to tumble down the proverbial mountain top.

That’s why everyone from 140 lbs. to 160 lbs. is trying their best to get the spot as Pacquiao’s comeback opponent. Everyone wants to be the one to catch the Filipino icon and future first ballot Hall of Famer at the right time and be the man who can claim he retired a legend.

Also in the same boat is the Kazakh KO Artist, Golovkin, who was once a fierce offensive beast but is now looking a bit slowed down and vulnerable.

Recently, promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who co-promotes the 24-year-old Mexican battler Jaime Munguia, is trying to have his guy be the one who retires Triple G.

“Now I feel Jaime Munguia is more than ready for Golovkin,” De La Hoya recently told Fino Boxing. “I say Jaime Munguia knocks him out. Straight-out knockout just because of the styles. Just because of Golovkin’s last performance [against Kamil Szeremeta in December]. He looked slow; he looked beatable. And he had nobody in front of him, obviously. I feel like with Jaime Munguia’s age, his strength, and youth, obviously, he can just adapt. I’m ready; let’s do it…Jaime Munguia is a star in the making, and he’s the next big Mexican champion.”

As things stand right now, Munguia-Golovkin is just an idea, a hopeful proposal tossed out to the media by a man in De La Hoya, who beat the legend Julio Cesar Chavez in 1996 to establish his own star power and who truly understands this risk vs. reward dynamic. He’d jump at the opportunity to make the Golovkin fight for his guy, though.

As for Pacquiao, it’s still unsettled as to who will get the B-side spot against him. Unlike some older stars, Manny retains a strong degree of career self-determination, though, and has more say so over how he ends his career. Right now, Mikey Garcia seems to lead the pack when it comes to possible foes.

This is the dog-eat-dog world of professional boxing. Sooner or later, the hunter becomes the hunted. And, right now, the biggest prey seems to be the Pacman and Triple G.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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