Dan Rafael: Adrien Broner
• There’s been a big shake-up behind the scenes at Golden Boy as chief executive Richard Schaefer recently announced a major restructuring of the staff of the world’s No. 1 promotional company.
Chief operating officer David Itskowitch is leaving the company after six years, effective July 31, which set off a slew of changes. Bruce Binkow, the chief marketing officer, will also now be the COO, and longtime vice president of operations Armando Gaytan will also assume the newly created position of deputy COO and has been promoted to senior VP of operations. Chief of staff Robert Gasparri will take on the role of VP of operations. Schaefer also announced that attorney Arnold Joseph, who has done work for the company for years, is joining the staff full-time as general counsel. Longtime director of communications and events Monica Sears was promoted to VP of operations and digital marketing coordinator Nicole “The Spark” Sparks is moving up to director of marketing. Marylyn Aceves is returning to the company as VP of public relations.
“Given his contributions to Golden Boy Promotions over the past six years, David Itskowitch's departure from the company is significant and he will be missed, but with the restructuring we have implemented we will have a smooth transition that will ensure the continued success of Golden Boy Promotions,” Schaefer said.
• Golden Boy announced the full undercard for its June 22 Showtime tripleheader at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition to the TV fights -- welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi defending against lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner, the heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell and Sakio Bika-Marco Antonio Periban for a vacant super middleweight belt -- junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams (12-0-1, 7 KOs) will face chin-challenged former titleholder Joachim Alcine (33-4-1, 19 KOs) in the most notable other bout. Three of the other bouts will involve members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team: Staten Island light heavyweight Marcus Browne (4-0, 4 KOs), who always has a fan section cheering for him at Barclays, bantamweight Rau'Shee Warren (4-0, 2 KOs) and lightweight Jamel Herring (3-0, 2 KOs).
• Promoters Lou DiBella and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson announced that they have acquired the rights to “Tapia,” a documentary on the late former five-time world champion Johnny Tapia, who died in May 2012 at age 45. The world premiere of the documentary will take place at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Saturday. The film, directed by Eddie Alcazar, chronicles Tapia’s tumultuous personal and professional life using first-person narration from Tapia himself, archival footage and personal photos. Alcazar spent many hours with Tapia filming, including in the weeks before Tapia’s death. Those last interviews are included in the film, as are interviews with Mike Tyson, trainer Freddie Roach (who trained Tapia at one point during his career) and Teresa Tapia, Johnny’s widow.
“I was drawn to the intensity of this project,” Jackson said. “His story resonated with me because like Tapia, I too lost my mother to violence and grew up with limited means. It’s a heartfelt story and it was important for me to get involved with bringing this to a broader audience.”
Said DiBella, who, when he programmed boxing at HBO, put Tapia on the network, “This is not a boxing film, but a film about tragedy, triumph, demons and redemption. Johnny gives us an honest assessment of his strengths and frailties; he reminds us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”
• European light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (40-2, 31 KOs), a former world titleholder, will make his second defense against Italy’s Stefano Abatangelo (17-2-1, 6 KOs) on Aug. 24 in Schwerin, Germany, Sauerland Event announced. Abatangelo is 11-0-1 in his past 12 fights. Braehmer is the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Nathan Cleverly, who he could meet later this year. Also on the card is supposed to be the return of former middleweight and super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham (36-4, 28 KOs) against Willbeforce Shihepo (20-6, 15 KOs). In his last fight, Abraham was destroyed in four rounds and lost his super middleweight belt to Robert Stieglitz in their March 23 rematch.
• Some interesting stats from last Saturday’s head-to-head clash between the HBO and Showtime cards. According to Nielsen Media Research, HBO’s undercard fight of Yuriorkis Gamboa-Darleys Perez drew 947,000, which increased to 1,024,000 viewers for the Adonis Stevenson-Chad Dawson main event. Showtime, which had a tripleheader, drew a measly 207,000 viewers for the Jermell Charlo-Demetrius Hopkins opener, which grew to 471,000 for the Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo co-feature and then 594,000 for the Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez main event. Although Showtime (which is in about 8 million fewer homes than HBO) had the better overall card for sure and has seen its boxing viewership on an overall upswing, the dreadful Gamboa-Perez undercard fight on HBO still drew 353,000 more than Showtime’s main event.
Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer is awfully busy juggling a bunch of fights that are coming up, including the big one, Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14. But there are a lot of other fights to get done also, undercards to load up and Showtime dates to fill.
Schaefer, who has been in Mexico on business, told ESPN.com that he and Al Haymon, Mayweather’s adviser and manager to many of Golden Boy’s fighters, plan to sit down in the coming days when they are both back in Los Angeles to go over a host of issues. Among them: ironing out the Mayweather-Alvarez Showtime PPV undercard and trying to finalize a Sept. 7 fight between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse (both Haymon clients) for junior welterweight supremacy.
Here’s an update from Schaefer on a variety of things he’s working on:
• Schaefer said his main focus is getting Garcia-Matthysse done.
“That’s what I’m working on this week,” he said. “I’d like to have the August and September schedules all done by the end of the week. I need to sit down with Al though and figure everything out.”
Schaefer said while some have been skeptical that Haymon would go through with Garcia-Matthysse, he is not.
“Al realizes that having all these fighters means they will sometimes have to fight each other,” Schaefer said. “Danny Garcia has never turned down anybody. And Matthysse? This is the fight he’s been waiting for. The fighters want it and the adviser is on board. I just have to finalize the money and the site. But I think we will get this done.”
• Former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz, healed from his broken jaw after a knockout loss to Josesito Lopez last June, is expected back in action either late this summer or in the fall. Schaefer said one fight he is considering trying to make is Ortiz against Shane Mosley, who is coming off a desperately needed win against Pablo Cesar Cano on May 18 after exiting retirement.
This is not a fight I am a fan of, especially considering all of the top guys Schaefer could match Ortiz with. For example, I love the idea of an Ortiz fight against Robert Guerrero, a fight Guerrero also wants. Ortiz (two losses in a row) and Guerrero are both coming off defeats, but it would definitely be a fan-friendly fight with the winner putting himself back on track.
With regard to an Ortiz-Mosley fight, Schaefer said, “I would like to see it. Both guys have a lot to prove if they want to fight for a title again. I ask people, ‘Who do you think wins?’ And the response is split. That makes it an interesting fight to me.”
• Golden Boy recently won the purse bid for the mandatory fight between junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas and Leo Santa Cruz and needs to schedule the bout. Schaefer said it could wind up on the Mayweather-Alvarez pay-per-view. But so, too, could featherweight titlist Abner Mares’ next fight.
“It could be Mares against [former titlist] Jhonny Gonzalez,” Schaefer said. “Gonzalez would love to fight for the title and you know how Abner is. He’s never worried about fighting anybody.”
There is also the possibility, Schaefer said, of Mares and Santa Cruz not appearing on the PPV undercard and instead having their next fights in Mexico, possibly on the same card. It is also possible that one will be on the PPV and one will fight in Mexico.
• With Marcos Maidana defeating Josesito Lopez last Saturday in a barnburner, Schaefer said Maidana is in line for two potential fights. One would be a match with Andre Berto should Berto defeat Jesus Soto Karass on July 27 in San Antonio in the main event of a Showtime tripleheader. The other could be a shot at the winner of the June 22 fight between welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner. Maidana could shadowbox and I’ll be watching, so either fight sounds good to me, but I love Maidana-Berto. Can you say fight of the year?
“Maidana-Berto, Maidana with the Paulie-Broner winner, both are great fights,” Schaefer said. “We have so many guys at 140 and 147 you can mix and match any of these guys. It’s insane.”
• Schaefer said in addition to the Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 cards, he will also have a major card on either Aug. 24 or Aug. 31.
But Molina, of Covina, Calif., has not given up on his hopes of someday winning a world title, and he returned in January with a good victory as he knocked out Dannie Williams in the fourth round.
Now Molina (25-2, 20 KOs) is seeking a second consecutive win when he faces Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KOs) of Russia in a scheduled 10-rounder on June 7 (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) at Little Creek Casino and Resort in Shelton, Wash.
“As of right now, everything in camp is the mindset that is purely on Klimov,” the 30-year-old Molina said. “I know him and I know sometimes fighters like Klimov go under the radar with the fans and television executives because he's from Russia and not seen here in America often. But in beating him it will take a great performance from me, and I'm prepared to do just that.
“The fight plan is to go out there and look impressive. Control the fight. If it goes the distance, we're ready. If a knockout comes, we'll jump all over it.”
Klimov said he has studied Molina and also is ready.
“I will box and stay out of a straight line, and try to move in and out on him,” he said. “I will not look for a knockout. I'm ready to go at the same pace for all 10 rounds, if it goes the distance. My ultimate goal would be to fight for the championship of the world. I never duck anybody and fight whoever is put in front of me and now it's in my hands to beat Molina impressively so everyone knows who I am.”
Given how thin the lightweight division is now, especially with the imminent departure of titleholder Adrien Broner, it is not out of the question that the Molina-Klimov winner gets a title shot sooner than later.
In the co-feature, super middleweight Farah Ennis (20-1, 12 KOs), 30, of Philadelphia will meet Anthony Hanshaw (23-2-2, 14 KOs) of High Point, N.C.
Hanshaw, 35, was once a rising contender before losing a decision to Roy Jones in 2007, followed by a fifth-round knockout loss to Andre Dirrell in 2008.
After calling it quits for more than four years, Hanshaw returned in October. He won decisions in his first two comeback fights against woeful opposition and fought to a draw in February against Derek Edwards.
Although it is unlikely, Hanshaw said he is aiming for a shot at super middleweight champ Andre Ward.
“I've worked very hard to get back to this point and failure is not an option,” Hanshaw said. “After I put the final nail in Farah's casket, I'll look for a shot at Andre Ward to concrete my name in boxing history.”
Gonzalez, who had never fought anyone of remote consequence and was fighting outside of his Puerto Rican home for the first time, had traveled to the lion's den of Glasgow, Scotland, where Burns is a hero, and he took the hero to school Saturday at Emirates Arena.
Burns' title was clearly slipping away -- just listen to the crowd grow quieter and quieter, round after round -- when, suddenly, Gonzalez simply quit on his stool after the ninth round.
The British television commentators, who also had Burns way behind, said it might have been a hand injury. Whatever it was, that's the sort of pain you sign up for when you become a prizefighter. If you want to be a champion, it goes with the territory. Gonzalez (22-1, 17 KOs) couldn't take it, did not have what it takes to be a champion and quit. Poof. Just like that, he gave up the opportunity of a lifetime to win a world title.
But for most of the nine rounds, Gonzalez befuddled an ineffective Burns (36-2, 11 KOs), who was as lucky to keep his title (in his third defense) as anyone is to hit the lottery. This fight wasn't so much about Burns winning it as it was about Gonzalez losing.
Burns, the heavy favorite, showed very little and had me thinking he should be thankful he (and former promoter Frank Warren) turned down multiple overtures from fellow titleholder Adrien Broner. I always thought Broner would manhandle Burns. After seeing Burns against Gonzalez, I'm sure of it.
By the third round, Burns was bleeding from the nose. He was being easily beaten to the punch as Gonzalez showed a really nice variety of punches -- uppercuts, body shots and right hands. He didn't even really use his best punch, the left hook, much.
Gonzalez had big fifth and sixth rounds, backing Burns into the ropes and hurting him with repeated blows. At this point in the fight, it seemed not really a matter of whether Gonzalez would stop him, just when. But I will give Burns a bit of credit here. He is experienced and has heart and obviously knew he was trailing. He let it all hang out in the seventh round, which will go down as a round of the year candidate.
They went toe to toe. They were both hurt and they were both in trouble at different times. It was a blistering round, and it clearly took more out of Gonzalez than Burns.
"He caught me with a few good shots, and I just decided to stand my ground and trade back with him. That's all I could do," Burns said after the fight about Round 7.
Burns mounted a comeback in the eighth and ninth rounds, his best of the fight, as Gonzalez, perhaps his hand already hurt, looked dead tired and did not do very much. Still, Burns was in a deep hole when the ninth ended. And then, out of nowhere, Gonzalez quit, giving Burns the improbable victory.
Eddie Hearn, the Matchroom Sport promoter who signed Burns before this fight after he dumped Warren, seemed relieved Burns had pulled this victory out of the fire.
"Unbelievable courage," he said of Burns' ability to hang in there despite a very tough night.
Then Hearn said they would be back in Scotland for Burns' next title defense in September -- a title he is very, very lucky to still call his own.
• Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said Thursday that the post-fight drug tests for Floyd Mayweather Jr., Robert Guerrero, Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce De Leon all came back negative for any prohibited substances. The results for the rest of the boxers on the May 4 card at the MGM Grand and May 3 card at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas are still pending. Kizer said all 30 boxers on the two cards were tested.
• Mares looked fantastic knocking out Ponce De Leon in the ninth round to win a featherweight title on the Mayweather-Guerrero undercard, giving Mares a world title in his third weight class in the past three years. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said two scenarios are being considered for Mares' first defense. One is for Mares, who lives in Southern California, to return home to his native Mexico for a homecoming fight. The other is for Mares to once again fight on Mayweather’s undercard when he returns Sept. 14 to the MGM Grand.
• A little date switcheroo to fill you in on: Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) and Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs), due to meet for a super middleweight title that was stripped from Andre Ward for no good reason, were scheduled to fight June 8 on the Golden Boy/Showtime card at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. But Schaefer said the fight has been pushed back two weeks and will instead go on a Showtime tripleheader on June 22 on the Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner undercard at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Also on the card is the heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell.
• With Bika-Periban moving to June 22, Schaefer said another fight has been added to the June 8 card to also make it a tripleheader: a junior middleweight fight between hot prospect Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs), 22, of Houston, and Philadelphia’s Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs), 32, the nephew of light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins. The June 8 card is headlined by welterweight Marcos Maidana against Josesito Lopez and also includes a junior middleweight fight between Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo.
• Featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. is slated to appear on Showtime on the undercard of light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins’ defense against mandatory challenger Karo Murat at the Barclays Center on July 13. Finding an opponent for Russell is always difficult, and this fight is no different.
“We have made a very strong offer to (former titlist) Jhonny Gonzalez and we’re waiting to hear from him,” Schaefer said.
• When the Canadian super fight between former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal and former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, which was supposed to take place May 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, was called off because of Bute’s left hand injury, Pascal promoter Yvon Michel said some of the undercard bouts would be shifted to the June 8 card at the Bell Centre headlined by light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson facing Quebec’s Adonis Stevenson. Michel, who also promotes Stevenson, told ESPN.com that these two bouts would shift to June 8: light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez against Allan Green and welterweight Kevin Bizier versus Aldo Nazareno Rios.
• Up-and-coming lightweight Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (13-1, 9 KOs), 25, a former standout amateur from Uzbekistan now living in Houston, has signed a promotional deal with Don King. Mamadjonov scored an upset on April 12 by knocking out Angelo Santana -- the best prospect in King’s thin stable -- in the ninth round. Mamadjonov had taken the “ShoBox” main event on short notice and impressed in front of a national TV audience.
“Signing with Don King brings me closer to my goal of winning a world championship,” Mamadjonov said. “That is what drives me every day. I want to win a world title for my family and the people of Uzbekistan who always believed in me.”
Said King, “I am extremely pleased and proud to have Baha with me. I expect great things from this young man because he’s dedicated and committed to becoming a world champion. He took the fight with Santana on almost no notice and stopped a great lightweight.”
• Former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees (37-2-1, 18 KOs) of Wales, who got knocked out by Adrien Broner in the fifth round in a February world title bout, returns to face England’s Anthony Crolla (25-4-1, 9 KOs) on June 29 in Manchester, England. The fight is the co-feature on the card headlined by former heavyweight titlist David Haye against former title challenger Manuel Charr. Crolla is coming off a 12-round split draw for the Commonwealth lightweight title against Derry Mathews on March 30 in a rematch of a Mathews sixth-round knockout win in April 2012.
“I cannot wait to get back into action,” Rees said. “I am itching to get another world title shot after fighting Broner. He is a megastar and will go on to do massive things in the game, but I feel that I can win another world title and this is a massive fight to prove I still have ambitions at that level.
“Anthony is a very good fighter and he put up a great performance in his rematch with Derry Mathews, and I think that the draw was the fair result. All-British clashes are always great to be a part of, with my own battle against Mathews a real cracking fight."
• Irish featherweight Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs), who is coming off a decision loss to Javier Fortuna for an interim featherweight title on Dec. 8, was due back in action on May 18 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. -- near his base of Marlboro, N.Y. -- but the card was canceled on Thursday because Hyland suffered a shoulder injury in his training camp, Final Round Promotions announced.
The heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell is still supposed to take place, but it will be put off a little longer because of Banks’ injured thumb.
Banks scored an upset when he knocked out Mitchell in the second round on Nov. 17 in Atlantic City, N.J. Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), who had a rematch clause, exercised his option and they were due to meet again in Atlantic City on Feb. 16 on the Adrien Broner-Gavin Rees undercard.
However, 10 days before the fight Banks broke his right thumb in a sparring session and the bout was postponed.
Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he was hoping to add the fight to his May 18 Showtime card in Atlantic City and had already worked it out with the network. It would have turned an already outstanding doubleheader into a tripleheader. Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander is set to defend against mandatory challenger Kell Brook on the show and Schaefer said he is in the process of finalizing the main event, which would feature junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson against Lucas Matthysse, an interim titlist.
On Wednesday, Schaefer got word from K2 promoter Tom Loeffler, who handles Banks, that Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) would be ready for May 18 and that they would take the fight.
However, later in the day Loeffler apologized to Golden Boy, saying that he checked with Banks, who said his thumb was still pretty sore and that he didn’t feel like he could be ready for the fight until after June 1.
“The fault lays with me for agreeing to something before confirming with Banks,” said Loeffler, a stand-up guy who admitted his error, something many in boxing would never do.
Another issue -- although it was not raised -- could be the fact that Banks is also training heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for his May 4 defense with Francesco Pianeta. Banks pulled double duty preparing for the first Mitchell fight while also training Klitschko for a defense the week before, but that was a huge grind.
One thing Schaefer said is that whenever Banks-Mitchell II is rescheduled, it will take place on Showtime, where he now does all of his premium cable business. HBO, which televised the first fight and was set to air the rematch last month, cut its ties with Golden Boy this week because of ongoing issues with the promoter.
After Burns-Vazquez was postponed until April 20, still in London, Schaefer said he was in touch with Burns promoter Frank Warren about instead doing the Broner fight, which the sides had already tried to negotiate in February.
According to Schaefer, Warren said he was interested but that Burns' manager, Alex Morrison, wasn't. Schaefer said that was "unfortunate, because Ricky is going to lose to Vasquez for a fraction of the money he can make fighting Broner."
Schaefer wouldn't put a number on how much he offered for Burns but said, "I offered Frank a lot of money for Burns to come over. It's a very big number. I said to Frank, 'Why don't you come over here [to the U.S.]? At least Ricky is going to make double or triple what he can make in this fight with Vazquez.' Frank said, 'I'm on board, but the manager doesn't want to fight Broner.' He said there's nothing he can do."
With no Burns fight for Broner, Schaefer said there's a possibility the lightweight titlist will jump up two weight classes to challenge welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Malignaggi's hometown).
"Paulie told me he is interested, and HBO likes the fight," Schaefer said. "People will like that fight. Paulie did tell me he would take it. He's not sure Broner would take it. I put it to [Broner manager] Al Haymon to talk to Adrien. I think it would be a very interesting fight."
I like Broner-Burns, but Malignaggi-Broner? Count me in.
• Yuriorkis Gamboa, who won a vacant interim junior lightweight title with a less-than-impressive decision against Michael Farenas on Dec. 8, has no fight lined up yet, but there have been talks about a spring return, likely at lightweight. Gamboa, who is with promoter/rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), is looking for an opponent. From what I'm told, HBO is interested in his next fight and former titlist Antonio DeMarco came up as a possible opponent. DeMarco lost his title by eighth-round knockout to Broner in April. Although HBO owes DeMarco a fight based on the deal from the Broner bout, DeMarco promoter Gary Shaw told me they are not interested in Gamboa.
• Here's a late but nice addition to this weekend's television boxing lineup: Top Rank announced that the flyweight title eliminator between former junior flyweight titleholders Edgar Sosa (47-7, 28 KOs) of Mexico City and Ulises "Archie" Solis (35-2-3, 22 KOs) will headline "Solo Boxeo Tecate" (UniMas, 11 ET/PT) on Saturday night in Guadalajara, Solis' hometown. They will be meeting for the third time. Solis won both of their previous fights, a six-round decision in 2001 and a majority decision in a Mexican junior flyweight title fight in 2003.
• Javier Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) of the Dominican Republic, who won a vacant interim featherweight belt by outpointing Patrick Hyland on Dec. 8 on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard, will make his first defense against Mexico's Miguel Zamudio (25-1-1, 13 KOs) on April 13. The fight will headline ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" at a location to be determined.
• There was a purse bid held Tuesday at the IBF offices in New Jersey for Juan Carlos Sanchez (15-1-1, 8 KOs) of Mexico and Argentina's Roberto Sosa (24-0, 14 KOs). However, according to IBF championships chairman Lindsey Tucker, nobody showed up to bid on the fight. Tucker said he has rescheduled the bid for March 19. If nobody shows up a second time, Sanchez will be stripped of his title.
• HBO's new boxing series "Cornered" debuts Tuesday night (10:15 ET/PT). The 15-minute debut, which focuses on famed ring announcer Michael Buffer, is a behind-the-scenes series that will follow boxing personalities who aren't fighters themselves. HBO is calling the show a "companion series" to its popular "2 Days," which follows a fighter in the 48 hours leading up to his fight.
"Matthysse is on board," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "So now we are waiting on Peterson, but that looks very promising. If we can pull it off, it will be one of the best one-two-punch doubleheaders we could make."
Schaefer is absolutely right about that. I like both of those fights a lot, but Peterson-Matthysse is one of my favorite fights that has been scheduled or is on the drawing board.
Also, Schaefer said he has the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on hold for June 15 to feature the return of lightweight titlist Adrien Broner. That's likely an HBO show. No opponent yet, but Schaefer said he hopes he can make a deal for Broner to face titlist Ricky Burns, of Scotland, now that Burns' March 16 fight with Miguel Vazquez has been postponed and seems on shaky ground.
Schaefer said welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi is due back June 22 for a title defense at the Barclays Center in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., on a likely Showtime card.
For good measure, in addition to the festivities surrounding the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero Showtime PPV event on May 4 in Las Vegas, Golden Boy will put on a Fox Deportes/FSN show May 3 at the Cosmopolitan, Schaefer said.
Epix, kicking off its 2013 boxing coverage, announced Friday that in addition to televising Scotland's Burns (35-2, 10 KOs) against Mexico's Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs), it will also have live coverage of light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) of Wales defending against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs) of Germany; super middleweight George Groves (16-0, 12 KOs) of England facing Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (22-1, 13 KOs), a native of Senegal living in Italy, for the vacant European title; and former heavyweight title challenger Dereck Chisora (15-4, 9 KOs) of England against an opponent to be determined.
The card will also be streamed live at EpixHD.com (4:30 p.m. ET). In the interest of full disclosure, in addition to my work at ESPN, I also serve as a commentator on the broadcast. One thing different about this broadcast than all but one other Epix telecast is that the crew will be at ringside to call the fights rather than doing it from a New York studio. It will be Epix's second show from ringside. The first was last May's Carl Froch-Lucian Bute super middleweight title fight.
But some have called for Broner to ditch lightweight already and move up the scale to junior welterweight, even though he just won the title (after being stripped of his junior lightweight belt for failing to make weight for his final defense). It makes no sense because there is no obvious big fight in that weight class sitting there for Broner right away.
Sure, junior welterweight fights with the likes of Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse or Amir Khan could be there down the road -- and are relatively easy to make since they are all with Golden Boy Promotions. But none are available right now.
Besides, Broner (25-0, 21 KOs), an immensely talented young fighter, is just 23. There's absolutely no rush. None whatsoever. The kid potentially has another decade-plus near the top of the sport to make big fights. They will come in time.
On Thursday's teleconference to talk about his fight with Rees, I asked Broner what he thought about the calls of some for him to move up in weight before even defending his lightweight crown once and I was glad to hear his reasoned response.
Broner said before Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs) was signed as his opponent, he did not consider going to 140 pounds. That move is for the future.
"Negative," Broner said. "That's what everybody wants you to do. They've just seen me dominate and put on a great performance -- a hell of a performance. He was the world champion, DeMarco, and they want me to just automatically go up to 140.
"No, I just moved up to this weight. I still make the weight eating steak and potatoes every night at training camp. I make the weight comfortably, so I'm going to stay here for a lot of good fights that I still can have at 135 pounds. So, I'm going to flush out this lightweight division and then we can go up to the light welterweight and crush their dreams. So, we're going to stay here for a while."
Broner's move up probably will come sooner than later without prodding from the public or press. The lightweight division does not have a lot of depth for Broner to have major fights.
But should he take care of Rees (which I expect he will) there is a potential fight with fellow titleholder Ricky Burns. That fight, however, will be tough to make considering that Burns and promoter Frank Warren could have had it for Feb. 16 but so massively overpriced themselves that it never had a prayer of realistically being made.
Whatever Broner and his handlers decide to do, I don't think anyone should be rushing him to move up in weight. Let him make at least one lightweight title defense and then we can revisit the situation.
Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer has been working on the schedule for the company's major cards in the first half of 2013 and walked me through it this week. Here's what Golden Boy is working on:
• On Jan. 19 on Showtime, Devon Alexander is supposed to defend his welterweight belt against Kell Brook at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with interim junior welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse facing Hank Lundy on the undercard. A third fight for the telecast is in the works: welterweight contender Selcuk Aydin against Jesus Soto Karass.
However, there is a chance the show could be postponed -- or at least the main event -- because Brook is dealing with an ankle problem that might force a short delay in the fight. Schaefer said if the main event has to be postponed, he would try to convince Showtime to do a doubleheader with the other two bouts and move Alexander-Brook into late February.
• Golden Boy will be back for the second show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 9 (Showtime) with junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia defending against former titleholder Zab Judah of Brooklyn in the main event. Middleweight titlist "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, who calls Brooklyn a second home, will make his first defense on the undercard, possibly against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. (That is a very, very poor fight and hopefully will not happen.) Middleweight prospect Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn will also see action in his third fight since returning to boxing after nearly dying from cancer.
Another fight on the card that Schaefer said could happen, although it would probably go on Showtime Extreme coverage of the undercard, would pit welterweights Dmitriy Salita of Brooklyn against Hector Camacho Jr., the son of the late Hector Camacho Sr., who had a big fan base in New York. Salita-Camacho might sell some tickets as a local attraction because Salita has fans in the Jewish community and Camacho would attract Puerto Rican fans.
• Golden Boy will have an HBO card on Feb. 16 at a site to be determined. Lightweight titlist Adrien Broner will headline. Schaefer hopes to make a unification with Ricky Burns, whose fight on Saturday fell apart when opponent Jose Ocampo dropped out this week. The undercard is expected to feature a heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell, whom Banks knocked out in the second round of an upset on Nov. 17.
• Schaefer said Feb. 23 is the date for another Showtime card. It could include Alexander-Brook if the fight is postponed with the location to be determined. But if Brook-Alexander stays in January, Schaefer said he would put the Feb. 23 card in Detroit, the hometown of junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, who would defend his belt against Ishe Smith. For the undercard of that fight, Schaefer said he hopes to make a match between Khabib Allakhverdiev, who recently won a vacant junior welterweight belt by handing Joan Guzman is first defeat, and former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto.
"I have to see what happens with Alexander and Brook and then adjust," Schaefer said.
• Former light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins returns on March 9, when he will be 48, at the Barclays Center on Showtime. Schaefer hopes to give Hopkins a shot at one of the world titleholders and has mentioned Tavoris Cloud, Beibut Shumenov and Nathan Cleverly, but so far, there is no opponent set. On the undercard, Schaefer said he has finalized a fight between featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon, who will be making his first defense, against Jayson Velez, a prospect co-promoted by Golden Boy and Miguel Cotto.
"Velez is an exciting fighter and he feels he's ready," Schaefer said of Velez, who is close to Cotto (and won on his Dec. 1 undercard) because he was discovered and brought along in the pros by Cotto's late father. "For Miguel to be able to have Jayson fight for a world title against Ponce De Leon is very special for him. I'm excited for Jayson and happy for Cotto, but also happy for Ponce De Leon to get the fight. The fight is done. It's Mexico versus Puerto Rico. Stylistically, it's an exciting fight."
• Also in April -- date not set -- Schaefer is working on a tripleheader with HBO. One of the bouts they are discussing is a featherweight match between former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year Gary Russell Jr. Another is welterweight slugger (and former junior welterweight titlist) Marcos Maidana against prospect Keith Thurman. Former welterweight titlist Andre Berto could also be on the card.
• May 4 is the target date for the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. on pay-per-view. No TV company yet has the rights to the fight, which Golden Boy will promote with Mayweather, as it has for his last several bouts. Schaefer wouldn’t divulge Mayweather's opponent, but all signs point to Robert Guerrero.
• June 8 is another date Schaefer said he has on hold at the Barclays Center for a card on the weekend of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York.
• On June 15 at the MGM Grand, Schaefer said he would present "Knockout Kings II." In September, he put on a card there called "Knockout Kings," in which three of the four televised bouts ended in a KO. The idea is to make matches that likely will end with a knockout, Schaefer said. "I want to do a card like that, a 'Knockout Kings' card, once a year at the MGM."
But Adrien Broner, who has been appearing regularly on HBO, is staying on the network. Broner, who won a lightweight world title by knocking out Antonio DeMarco in the eighth round on Nov. 17, is due back on HBO on Feb. 16, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com.
There is no opponent or venue yet, but Schaefer said he's been talking to British promoter Frank Warren about matching Broner with fellow titleholder Ricky Burns of Scotland. When Burns held a junior lightweight title, Broner was his mandatory challenger, but he moved up in weight and vacated -- some say to avoid Broner -- leaving Broner to win the vacated belt.
Burns is supposed to fight on Saturday in London, but his second opponent, Jose Ocampo, dropped out on Monday, leaving Warren to scramble for a replacement. Schaefer would like to see Burns just sit tight and wait until February.
"I am trying to do the Burns fight [with Broner,]" Schaefer said. "[I'll be] talking again [Tuesday] with Frank Warren. I am going to try and convince him to go directly to Broner for Feb. 16. But if Burns does not work out then maybe [interim titlist] Richard Abril" would be Broner's opponent.
Golden Boy and HBO are also far along in talks for a multi-fight contract for Broner to remain exclusively on the network. It would be for at least three fights, although, from what I am told, the Feb. 16 date is not predicated on the deal being finalized.
Also, when Broner fights Feb. 16, the undercard bout is likely to be a heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell. On the Broner-DeMarco undercard last month, Banks pulled the upset by knocking out Mitchell in the second round. Mitchell had a rematch clause and has exercised his option to fight Banks again.
Schaefer and HBO are also in the talking stages about an April tripleheader. One of the bouts they are discussing is a featherweight match between former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year Gary Russell Jr., who would be taking a huge step up in the level of his competition if the fight is finalized. Gonzalez lost his belt via eighth-round technical decision to Daniel Ponce De Leon on Sept. 15.
Another fight being talked about would pit welterweight slugger (and former junior welterweight titlist) Marcos Maidana against prospect Keith Thurman. They were supposed to fight on a Broner undercard in July, but Maidana and his team decided against it. Now the talks have been renewed. Thurman has won two fights in a row on HBO, but if he faces Maidana, he would be fighting the best opponent of his career.
That April card could also feature the return of former two-time welterweight titlist Andre Berto, who lost a unanimous decision in a terrific fight against Robert Guerrero on Nov. 24.
Golden Boy pledged to donate $2 per ticket sold and $1,000 per knockout scored during the seven-bout card headlined by Adrien Broner's eighth-round knockout of Antonio DeMarco in a lightweight title bout.
The tally from tickets sold was $7,764 and $7,000 for knockouts scored. That total of $14,764 was matched by De La Hoya and Caesars Atlantic City, bringing the total donation to $44,292.
Golden Boy also donated fight tickets to the organization, and Broner and heavyweight Seth Mitchell, who lost in a major upset to Johnathon Banks, visited one of the clubs on Wednesday to meet with kids and help clean up Hurricane Sandy-strewn debris from the grounds outside the facility. Several of the area facilities were heavily damaged during the storm, forcing closures that directly affected underserved youth and their family members who rely on the club.
"We are extremely happy that we were not only able to host the fight in Atlantic City and give people a great night of entertainment, but that we were able to raise the monies to make such a large contribution to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Atlantic City," De La Hoya said. "It is so gratifying for all of us at Golden Boy to be able to help this area recover from the impact of this destructive storm."
DeMarco, making his third title defense, was facing an extraordinarily talented fighter in Broner, who is fast, elusive and powerful.
Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) broke down DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs), dropped him in the eighth round with a gorgeous six-punch combination and stopped him when DeMarco's corner threw in the towel. I'm not sure the towel-tossing was even necessary because I'm not so sure DeMarco was going to beat the count. And even if he had, I believe referee Benjy Esteves, one of boxing's best, would have stopped the fight.
One thing about DeMarco: He's a classy guy. He didn't run and hide after the fight. He showed up at the postfight news conference and gave Broner all of the credit he deserved.
"As we know how to win, we know how to lose, and that is why I am here," DeMarco said. "I want to congratulate Broner. He is a great fighter, and tonight was his night.
"Broner is a very elusive fighter. I fell into his game and into his fight. Without a doubt, Broner is a very complete fighter. I am glad to have fought him. I like big challenges and I think Broner is a super fighter. Congratulations to him."
DeMarco, 26, of Mexico, fought through incredible poverty to get to a world title, and he earned about $600,000 for his loss. He said he will be back.
"It doesn't end here," he said. "I want to show my daughter that dreams can come true, and I want to stay [in boxing]. I want to thank the people that have supported me."
In defeat, DeMarco, his face covered with bruises and welts, was almost uplifting in his comments.
"This was a great experience for me in my career," he said. "I am a very brave guy and I will come back with more hunger. I make that promise for my family, for my daughter and for my baby on the way. I want to be a good example for them."
After the storm hit two weeks ago, there were initial questions about whether the show would even take place. But it will go on, and Golden Boy -- which is promoting the card that also will feature a heavyweight showdown between Seth Mitchell and Johnathon Banks -- and host casino Caesars Atlantic City are chipping in to help those impacted by the hurricane, as well as helping support the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Golden Boy announced it will donate $2 for every ticket sold and $1,000 per knockout registered during the card, with Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya and Caesars Atlantic City matching the donation.
Several of the area Boys and Girls Clubs were heavily damaged, forcing them to close facilities that directly impact youth and their families in the area.
In addition to the monetary pledges, Golden Boy is donating tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, and Broner and Mitchell are scheduled to visit one of the clubs Wednesday.
"We are hoping that the Broner versus DeMarco fight will afford people the opportunity to forget their worries for an evening and enjoy this great night of boxing," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said in a statement. "At the same time, we understand the severity of the situation and would be remiss not to make a donation to help those directly affected by this terrible storm. With Oscar and Caesars Atlantic City providing matching donations, we feel very positive that our collective donation will help to make a difference."
Said De La Hoya: "The people of Atlantic City are in need now, and I am happy to join in the effort and make my own contribution in order to help some of the people affected by Sandy. A world of good can happen when everyone comes together to give back to people who are in need."
"Sandy not only breached the walls of the Boys and Girls Club, but the lives of each and every member here in Atlantic City," said John Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah's Resort, the parent of Caesars Atlantic City. "So it's with great honor that I announce this donation to an organization that embodies the never-give-up attitude of New Jersey. We will not sit idly by and allow anything to compromise these impressionable youths."