LOS ANGELES -- Golden Boy Promotions became a powerhouse on the strength of its veteran roster of fighters: company boss Oscar De La Hoya, partners Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley and other older stars such as Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez. They've all been involved in major fights that have generated tremendous revenue for the company.
But each of them is far closer to the end of their career than the beginning and the company knows if it is to remain at the top of the business along with rival Top Rank, it needs to replenish the talent pool.
In its few years in business, the one glaring negative about Golden Boy is that it has yet to nurture a young prospect from 0-0 to a world title and stardom, something Top Rank, with matchmakers Bruce Trampler and Brad Goodman, does with such regularity, few seem to realize it.
Golden Boy is hoping to improve dramatically in that area, and based on the new crop of youngsters it has signed, it could be on its way.
The pressure, of course, is on matchmakers Eric Gomez and Robert Diaz to handle the youngsters with care and not get anxious to move them too quickly.
It was a pretty cool scene on Thursday inside the media center at the posh Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown where it was all about the future of boxing as Golden Boy assembled its vast stable of young talent to introduce the fighters to the media in town covering Saturday's De La Hoya-Steve Forbes fight.
"Boxing has never been in better shape and these young men we've signed prove it," De La Hoya said in a statement, understandably opting not to attend because of his impending fight. "These fighters are talented, hard working, charismatic and determined to win world titles and if you haven't seen them yet, you will see plenty of them in 2008 and beyond."
Ten of the fighters were present -- heavyweight Seth Mitchell could not attend because he fights this weekend on the East Coast -- and each spoke about their dreams of becoming a world champion. It's always a pleasure to see the youthful exuberance of young fighters so genuinely excited about their future. I love following prospects, so it's hard for me not to also get excited.
The two I am most familiar with are junior welterweight Danny Garcia (5-0, 5 KOs), 20, and middleweight Danny Jacobs (5-0, 5 KOs), 21. Golden Boy has been putting them on all of its major shows so I have met both kids several times and been ringside for most of their fights. Both of them were star amateurs who fell just shy of the 2008 Olympic team. Both fight Saturday night on the De La Hoya-Forbes undercard.
I have been impressed by both, but particularly with Garcia, whose pure aggression and enthusiasm have been captivating to watch. I think he has star potential.
Here are the other fighters, all of whom have good amateur backgrounds and many of whom are with all-star manager Shelly Finkel, that Golden Boy is investing time and money into:
• Super middleweight Ricardo Tristan, a 19-year-old Houston native, due to turn pro next month.
• Lightweight Hylon Williams, who is only 17 but won his pro debut two weeks ago on the Joe Calzaghe-Hopkins undercard.
• Welterweight Jermell Charlo, another 17-year-old who moved to 2-0 on the Calzaghe-Hopkins card.
• Junior welterweight Michael Faragon, 20, who is 2-0.
• Heavyweight Ashanti Jordan is 3-0 with 3 KOs, but he's already 31, so he could be a bit of a crapshoot. But he sure looks imposing.
• Puerto Rican junior lightweight Carlos Velasquez (7-0, 6 KOs) and twin brother Juan Velasquez (7-0, 4 KOs) , a featherweight.
• Junior welterweight Hector Sanchez (12-0, 5 KOs), also of Puerto Rico. He's 6-foot-2 and 140 pounds!