- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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When Richard Schaefer resigned as chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions on Monday, it answered only one of the many questions about the situation -- namely, would he leave the company?
The answer was yes, as the long-rumored split between him and company president, co-founder and majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya came to fruition after months of infighting. But now what? I don’t have all the answers, but I will try my best to answer some of the key questions.
What does this mean for Golden Boy/De La Hoya?
It means Golden Boy has lost the only CEO it has ever known, as well as pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has worked with Golden Boy on a fight-by-fight basis since 2007. After Schaefer announced his resignation, Mayweather followed him out the door, saying he would no longer have Golden Boy co-promote his events. That’s a huge financial hit to Golden Boy.
But De La Hoya brought Schaefer into his business and surely will find somebody else to run the company. Can that person be as successful in fostering relationships with networks, venues, sponsors, managers, fighters and media as Schaefer, who presided over the two richest pay-per-view events and two richest gates in boxing history? We’ll see.
Golden Boy still has its output deal with Fox Sports 1 and several quality fighters under contract. With Schaefer out of the picture, the way is clear for De La Hoya and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, his former promoter turned rival, to do business again in the wake of their recent reconciliation.
What does this mean for Schaefer?
Schaefer is a smart, hardworking, relentless businessman. He’ll be just fine. But will he start his own company? Will he go to work for Mayweather Promotions? Will he promote the many Al Haymon-advised fighters he used to promote at Golden Boy but who were not under formal Golden Boy promotional agreements? That was one of the issues that came between Schaefer and De La Hoya. The answers are unknown.
There’s also the question of Schaefer’s contractual status with Golden Boy. Schaefer resigned but remains a shareholder, and De La Hoya’s attorney claims that Schaefer is under contract through March 2018. This could get messy.
Even if a settlement is reached on the supposed signed employment agreement, what about a non-compete clause that would prevent Schaefer from promoting for a certain length of time? Those are hard to enforce in California, where Golden Boy operates. All of this is where the lawyers get involved.
Schaefer has been mum on his plans, but you can count on one thing: He will promote boxing in the future and will probably be successful.
Is Golden Boy going to work with Arum now that Schaefer is out of the way?
The short answer is definitely.
De La Hoya and Arum recently reconciled after many fierce battles between their companies. One of the issues between De La Hoya and Schaefer was De La Hoya’s desire to work with Arum again, and Schaefer’s refusal. With Schaefer gone, it’s only a matter of time until De La Hoya and Arum promote fights together.
The question, however, is: If the companies work together, what kind of fights can they make? It is unclear because nobody knows for sure which fighters Golden Boy has under contract and which fighters are strictly with Haymon. If Golden Boy has many of Haymon’s top welterweights under contract, it could open a good selection of opponents to face Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez.
That brings us to the next question.
What does this mean for the fighters with Haymon who fight regularly on Golden Boy cards but are not under contract to the company?
Haymon could continue working with Golden Boy and leave things status quo. Or, as many expect, he could gut the company and steer those fighters to some other company, namely Mayweather Promotions or perhaps an entity Schaefer may found.
Besides star client Mayweather, Haymon has numerous name fighters in his vast stable. Among those who are associated with Golden Boy: Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Devon Alexander, Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Paulie Malignaggi, Sakio Bika, Robert Guerrero, Lamont Peterson, Daniel Jacobs, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo and Luis Collazo, not to mention 2012 U.S. Olympians Errol Spence Jr. and Marcus Browne, two top prospects.
It is not clear which of those fighters are under contract to Golden Boy, but it is believed that Khan, Guerrero and Alexander are (although my understanding is that Alexander’s June 21 fight is the final fight of his deal). Some fighters are known to not be under contract, including Porter, Thurman, Russell, Berto, Peterson and the Olympians.
Does this have any impact on the possibility of Mayweather-Pacquiao?
None. Mayweather remains under contract to Showtime and is with Haymon. Mayweather has also repeatedly said he would not do business with Arum, who recently re-signed Pacquiao to a two-year contract extension. From what I am told, Arum got financial help from HBO in closing the Pacquiao deal and then pledged loyalty to HBO on Pacquiao fights. The two boxers will keep fighting on different networks, and the same problems remain as far as how to split the money and various other issues. Bottom line: Still no fight.
Is a Pacquiao-Canelo Alvarez fight now possible?
Technically, yes, since it would mean matching a Top Rank fighter with a Golden Boy fighter who is not with Haymon. However, realistically, it is unlikely. Alvarez is on the verge of moving up to middleweight, and Pacquiao, a small welterweight, has talked about moving down to junior welterweight. Besides, after Pacquiao’s tough fight a few years ago with junior middleweight Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach said he would never fight that big of an opponent again. Even if they wanted to make the fight, it is unclear whether HBO has rights to Pacquiao (I believe it does) and whether Showtime has rights to Alvarez (I’m not sure beyond his July 12 fight).
Are any already-scheduled fights going to be canceled now?
Where do Showtime and HBO stand in all of this?
Showtime has been the de facto home for Golden Boy’s major fights for the past couple of years, and Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza is close to De La Hoya and Schaefer -- he used to be Golden Boy’s attorney. So he could continue doing Golden Boy fights if the promotion has the fighters who are ready for prime time. He could also keep working with the Haymon fighters and put on cards involving both factions.
As for HBO, it banned Golden Boy fighters -- and by extension Haymon fighters -- in early 2013 for various reasons. But HBO is also the main outlet for Top Rank’s major fights, and now that Top Rank and Golden Boy likely will work together again I expect Golden Boy fighters will be back on HBO soon. Haymon’s fighters? That’s another story. I don’t see them being welcome on HBO at this point.