Dan Rafael: Golden Boy Promotions

Shakeup to March 12 HBO Latino card

February, 19, 2015
Feb 19
There’s been a change to the co-feature on Golden Boy Promotions’ card on March 12 (HBO Latino, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT) at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.

Welterweight Frankie Gomez, who did not have an opponent yet, is off the show for unannounced reasons. The new co-feature, announced Thursday, will match Ukrainian light heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (12-0, 10 KOs) against Fabiano Pena (11-0-1, 8 KOs), of Brazil, in a 10-rounder.

In the previously announced main event, Mexico’s Francisco Vargas (21-0-1, 15 KOs) will take on Will Tomlinson (23-1-1, 13 KOs) of Australia in a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout.

The non-televised undercard will include middleweight Yamaguchi Falcao (3-0, 1 KOs), a 2012 Brazilian Olympic bronze medalist; Austin, Texas, welterweight Travell Maizon (9-0, 9 KOs); Brooklyn, New York, junior welterweight prospect Zachary Ochoa (9-0, 4 KOs); and super middleweight prospect D'Mitrius Ballard (7-0, 6 KOs) of Washington, D.C.

The card was initially supposed to be a tripleheader, but two weeks ago junior welterweight Antonio Orozco (21-0, 15 KOs) suffered a cut over his right eye in sparring and his fight against Emanuel Taylor (18-3, 12 KOs) was called off.

David Lemieux accepts title shot

February, 17, 2015
Feb 17
After Jermain Taylor was stripped of his middleweight belt because he is tied up with serious legal issues and unable to make his mandatory defense against Hassan N’Dam, the question was who would N’Dam face for the vacant title?

Former titlist Felix Sturm, the IBF’s next leading available contender, declined the fight because he is moving up to super middleweight. Billy Joe Saunders, the next guy in line, also turned it down because he would rather go the route of facing the winner of the Andy Lee-Peter Quillin title bout.

Next in line was Montreal slugger David Lemieux (33-2, 31 KOs), and on Monday, he informed the IBF that he would accept the bout with N’Dam (31-1, 18 KOs).

"After consulting with the team, we are very pleased to accept this opportunity,” said Camille Estephan, Lemieux’s co-promoter with Golden Boy Promotions. “It is the dream of every boxer to become world champion, and we are planning to do everything in our power to bring this belt to Quebec. David is ready for the challenge.”

Said Lemieux, “Finally, a world championship fight. You can run, but you can't hide. We're ready.”

The N’Dam and Lemieux sides will now negotiate the bout. If they can’t make a deal, a purse bid will be ordered.

However, there could be an issue. Although Golden Boy signed Lemieux and plans to work with Estephan, promoter Yvon Michel, who had been promoting Lemieux, claims that Lemieux is still under contract to him and has been since December 2011. Michel said he plans to pursue legal action.

Orozco withdraws from March 12 fight

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5
Junior welterweight Antonio Orozco, who suffered a deep cut near the right eye while sparring on Monday, pulled out of his upcoming fight on Thursday following a visit to his doctor, who determined the cut was too deep and would not heal fast enough for him to fight, Golden Boy Promotions announced.

Orozco (21-0, 15 KOs) was to have faced Emanuel Taylor (18-3, 12 KOs) in the co-feature of a card on March 12 (HBO Latino, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT) at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.

"I was prepared and excited to go up against Emanuel Taylor on March 12. I know that facing him and beating him would have been a grand debut in 2015," Orozco said. "I am very disappointed in the outcome and now need to heal and be ready for a fight as soon as possible."

In the main event, junior lightweight contender Francisco Vargas (21-0-1, 15 KOs) will face Will Tomlinson (23-1-1, 13 KOs).

Golden Boy also announced welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs) will fight on the card and be in the new co-feature against an opponent to be determined.

Golden Boy signs unbeaten Teixeira

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26
Undefeated Brazilian junior middleweight Patrick Teixeira has signed a promotional contract with Golden Boy Promotions, the company announced on Monday.

"Today is a very special day for my professional career," Teixeira said. "My dream was to sign with Golden Boy Promotions and get to know [Golden Boy president] Oscar De La Hoya. I know that more opportunities will open up as a result of my signing on to the exclusive roster of fighters at Golden Boy Promotions and they will guide my career down the right path in order to give great performances for all my fans."

The 24-year-old Teixeira (24-0, 20 KOs), a pro since 2009 but largely untested, has fought primarily in Brazil with three of his fights taking place in the United States and four in Mexico.

"American fans unfamiliar with the hard-hitting power and one-punch knockout potential of Patrick Teixeira will soon know his name -- and so will his opponents," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said in announcing the signing. "We look forward to a long relationship with Patrick that ends with him reaching his full potential of winning a world championship belt."

De La Hoya described Teixeira as "very explosive" and having an "in-your-face style." He also compared him to Brazil's most famous fighter in recent years, former junior lightweight and lightweight titleholder Acelino "Popo" Freitas, who was known as a big hitter.

Herrera has experience on his side

December, 11, 2014
Mauricio Herrera, Johan PerezAP Photo/Eric JamisonMauricio Herrera, left, will use his experience as an advantage against Joseph Benavidez Jr.

LAS VEGAS -- Although Mauricio Herrera came up short in his bid to claim the junior welterweight world title when he lost a close and highly controversial majority decision to Danny Garcia in March, the fight was still a positive for his career.

"The Danny Garcia fight changed my life,” Herrera said. “I finally have a promoter that is looking out for me, and all I have to do is train and get ready to fight."

Herrera fought so well against Garcia, and made such a good impression, that Golden Boy Promotions, which had signed him before the Garcia fight, made him a priority.

In his next fight in July, the company lined Herrera up to face interim titlist Johan Perez and he won a majority decision on the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara undercard.

And now Herrera is set to make his first defense against up-and-comer Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday night (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Cosmopolitan in the opening bout of the triple-header headlined by the welterweight clash between Timothy Bradley Jr. and Diego Chaves.

“I’ve had a career with a lot of tough fights, and I know this is only a small belt, but I worked hard for it. It tells me I am on the way up in boxing,” Herrera said at Thursday’s final news conference. “Benavidez is a good, young, strong kid, and he wants to take this from me, but I worked to hard for it. So it’s a small belt, but I will defend it, and then, hopefully, I can win a world title.

“I'm not taking Benavidez lightly, but Saturday night I'm going to give a great fight and continue fighting for a world title. I'm getting tough fights and I'm happy.”

In 2011, Herrera (21-4, 7 KOs), 34, of Riverside, California, handed former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov his first career loss. Herrera also went to war with Mike Alvarado in 2012 and lost a competitive decision in a fight-of-the-year candidate.

He has loads of experience, which is his advantage against the lanky 22-year-old Benavidez (21-0, 15 KOs) of Phoenix.

“Herrera is a tricky, dangerous fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Herrera’s promoter. “He can take you in to deep water, but he can swim.”

Said Herrera, “My experience will be a big advantage for this fight. He just has not fought at this level. He is young, and there is going to come a point in the fight where he will either step up or fold, and that's when we test his will.”

Benavidez was so good as an amateur that he was given a special permit by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to turn pro at age 17 instead of 18, as is the rule. He will be in his first scheduled 12-round bout and facing -- by far -- his most notable opponent. Benavidez has never even been in a scheduled 10-round fight before. Still, he has that youthful confidence.

"I heard Herrera was real mouthy [on Wednesday at the media workout], saying he would school me on Saturday night,” Benavidez said. “Let's see what he says when we get into the ring. I trained in Big Bear [California], which is no joke because of the altitude. We train as if we are going into a 15- or 20- round fight, which means I am in top condition."

Notes: Future bright for Sadam Ali

November, 15, 2014
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN.com he hopes to bring welterweight Sadam Ali (21-0, 13 KOs) back in early 2015 following his impressive ninth-round knockout of Luis Carlos Abregu on the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev undercard on Nov. 8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“We’re hoping to get a date for him in the first quarter [of 2015] and fight him at the Barclays Center,” De La Hoya said of the arena in Brooklyn, New York, Ali’s hometown. “We will step him up and keep him busy. He had a great win. It was a real confidence booster. He has always shown boxing ability, but I have always known he could crack. We’ll let him enjoy the win, and we will put him on the fast track next year.”

• Promoter Sal Musumeci of Final Forum Boxing and the Gallery Studio Group announced that they are bringing live boxing to CBS Sports Network. The debut card will take place Dec. 13 (8 p.m. ET) at a site to be announced in New York and include heavyweight Charles Martin (18-0, 16 KOs) in the main event with light heavyweight (and Subway pitchman) Mike Lee (13-0, 7 KOs) in the cofeature. Opponents are to be announced for the fights, which are part of a time-buy on the network.

• Welterweights Alan Sanchez (14-3-1, 8 KOs), who has won nine of his last 10 fights, and Ed Paredes (35-4-1, 23 KOs) will meet in the 10-round main event of the “Golden Boy Live” card Dec. 4 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California, Golden Boy announced. In the 10-round cofeature, junior welterweight Manuel "Tino" Avila (16-0, 7 KOs) will face Jose Luis Araiza (31-9-1, 22 KOs).
Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya is putting his money where his mouth is.

For the past several months, since assuming day-to-day control of the company in the wake of the resignation of CEO Richard Schaefer in June, De La Hoya has preached nonstop about his desire to work with all promoters and networks to put on the best fights possible.

[+] EnlargeOscar De La Hoya
AP Photo/Alex MenendezOscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions will have a hand in promoting a pair of rival cards in Las Vegas on Dec. 13.
So far, so good.

He has repaired his relationship with longtime rival Top Rank, and they have begun to make fights together, including the Sadam Ali-Luis Carlos Abregu welterweight bout and Mauricio Herrera-Jose Benavidez Jr. interim junior welterweight title bout, even if the companies have not yet made a big-time main event.

Golden Boy also negotiated Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev with Main Events and has repaired its battered relationship with HBO while continuing to work with Showtime.

Hopkins is moving back to HBO to face Kovalev on Nov. 8, Golden Boy also signed Canelo Alvarez to the network in a recent deal, it has Herrera on HBO's Dec. 13 card in Las Vegas, and it is promoting a Dec. 6 card on HBO that will be headlined by middleweight David Lemieux against Gabriel Rosado.

But Golden Boy is still doing business -- even if it is a bit strained -- with Showtime, where it is promoting a card on Dec. 13 headlined by Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander.

That card is also in Las Vegas and will go head-to-head with the HBO card headlined by Timothy Bradley Jr.-Diego Chaves on which Herrera will appear.

"It was something that we could not avoid, but we will make it work as best as possible," De La Hoya told ESPN.com.

Golden Boy would have preferred to have the Dec. 13 card in San Antonio, as originally planned, but it was pushed to Las Vegas by Showtime.

"This is a testament to what I have said before about working with anybody," De La Hoya said. "When I took control of the company, that is what I said, and I mean it. So I have to be at The Cosmopolitan with Mauricio Herrera on HBO watching him fight a Top Rank fighter [Benavidez], and then I have to run across the Strip in Vegas to the [MGM Grand] and go and sit down for the Showtime fights we are doing.

"We're willing to work with anybody and anywhere as long as we can make fights."

De La Hoya acknowledged the delicate balance he is dealing with on Dec. 13 but said he was up front with Top Rank and HBO about it and that he is doing what is best for the boxers involved, as well as for Golden Boy.

"Yes, it puts us in a tough position as a promoter, but we are working with everybody," he said. "The great thing is we talked to HBO about going to Las Vegas [with Showtime] on their same night. I talked to [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] and said we had a problem and explained everything to him. There were no surprises for nobody. We're gonna have a lot of boxing on TV and in Vegas that night. Hopefully the Cosmo is packed, and hopefully the [MGM Grand] is also packed.

"Regardless, it will be a helluva night on HBO and Showtime and a great night for boxing. I just want to make the best fights. I have said this before and I will say it again, and you can quote me on this: Ego is not my amigo."
Randy Caballero earned his shot at a world title by going overseas and he'll also have to win it overseas.

Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will challenge England's Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday (ESPN3, 1 p.m. ET).

Caballero, of Coachella, California, has fought 18 of his 21 professional fights in Southern California, mostly in Indio, but had no qualms about going to Japan in April for a world title elimination bout. He knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round of a very impressive performance in Kobe to become the mandatory challenger for the 118-pound title.

And now he will be fighting for the belt on the other side of the globe in Monaco.

"This is the moment every fighter dreams of, and I would have gone anywhere to fight for that title," the 24-year-old Caballero said. "Stuart Hall is a former world champion, he's hungry to get that title back, but he's not hungrier than me. I've worked harder than anyone for years, and this is my time."

The fight wound up in Monte Carlo because Dennis Hobson, Hall's promoter, beat Caballero promoter Golden Boy in a purse bid, allowing him to control the site of the fight. He made a deal with South Africa's Rodney Berman to put it on his card in Monte Carlo.

Hobson won the rights to the fight with a bid of $261,750 to Golden Boy's $127,000. For a vacant belt the split is 50-50, meaning Caballero will earn a career-high $130,875.

"Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion, but only those who work hard and are willing to go the extra mile -- like traveling half way around the world to fight for a title -- will persevere," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "Golden Boy Promotions is committed to putting on the best fights possible for fans all over the world, and I fully expect 'El Matador' and Stuart Hall to deliver on that promise."

England's Paul Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it he vacated to move down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

British middleweight contender Martin Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) headlines the card against Italy's Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in a 12-rounder. If Murray wins, he could challenge world titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who will be ringside, in February in Monte Carlo.

The rest of the card will also be part of the ESPN3 stream:

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa's Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus' Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.

Stiverne-Wilder deal getting closer

October, 15, 2014
The long slog to make the mandatory fight between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder is inching closer to the finish line.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne moved one step closer toward seeing his bout with unbeaten Deontay Wilder become a reality.
One of the open issues in making the fight was for Stiverne to come to an agreement with his promoter, Don King, on their side of the deal. On Wednesday, they did, according to Stiverne manager Camille Estephan.

"I made a deal with King that we're very satisfied with financially," Estephan told ESPN.com. "But we are still very anxious to get a date for the fight and a site. I can't speculate about Wilder but I think it's time for him and his team to stop talking and make the fight."

A specific date and venue is key and one of the reasons why Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company represents Wilder, said they couldn't sign a contract from King. Even though De La Hoya said they had made a financial deal, the date and site were not set.

Estephan said the biggest thing on the Stiverne side was working out the money.

"Don still doesn't know the site or the date but in our agreement the fight is supposed to be either in December or in the first quarter of next year," he said. "I have made a proposal to Don to bring the fight to Quebec City [Stiverne grew up in Canada]. He likes it but he can't give me a commitment yet.

"But I wanted to get our deal done. We are satisfied. We did what we had to do. We don't want to wait anymore. One of the reasons we're very happy to make a deal for the fight is because this is the fight we want and Bermane wants to make a statement in this fight and increase his market value with a good performance against an undefeated, American Olympic medalist."

A purse bid for the fight has been delayed multiple times as the sides have worked toward and agreement.

Oscar opens up about Canelo deal

September, 29, 2014
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya said the main reason Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez opted to return to HBO when he signed an exclusive multifight agreement with the network last week -- and dumped Showtime, his TV home for the past five fights, in the process -- was because he wanted to be with HBO.

Alvarez, a former unified junior middleweight titleholder, received a handsome offer to remain with Showtime but "Canelo didn't want to hear it. He wanted to be with HBO," De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night. "The big problem I had was Canelo wants to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend and he wants Sept. 16 [weekend]. Those are the big Mexican holidays, and he doesn't want to be second to nobody.

"I was stuck between a rock and hard place. Saul wanted to go with HBO, and HBO really wanted him. When you have a 24-year-old fighter who knows that he is the next superstar and has it in his head that he wants to go to HBO, it's a difficult position for me to be in because, obviously, we do a lot fights on Showtime."

Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose win against Alvarez in September 2013 set numerous all-time boxing revenue records, is in the midst of a six-fight contract with Showtime and is its priority, not Alvarez. And Mayweather has been fighting on the May and September pay-per-view dates, even when he is not facing a Mexican opponent. Alvarez wants to fight on those dates, and HBO plans to help De La Hoya make that happen.

"I have to do what Canelo asks me to do," De La Hoya said. "I'm not going to jeopardize my relationship with Canelo. The biggest factor for him was being second to nobody. So that's what I did -- I made the deal with HBO, where he won't be second. You're dealing with someone who is 24 years old. He's a superstar in Mexico and realizes his potential in the States. He has another 10 years to go, and he wants to capitalize as much as he can."

When the deal was finalized, Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza lashed out in several interviews, saying De La Hoya was "deceitful" and had reneged on a verbal agreement to sign Alvarez with Showtime.

De La Hoya said that is "100 percent not true, but I'm gonna take the high road and not even go there because, obviously, the ultimate decision was leaving it up to my fighter, and the ultimate decision was made to go to HBO. HBO came with a huge offer, but the deciding factor wasn't the huge offer. It was in Saul's head that he wanted to be with HBO."

Although HBO and Golden Boy did not make the terms of the deal public, sources told ESPN.com it's a three-year deal that calls for at least one live HBO fight per year, with the others ticketed for HBO PPV.

Alvarez is supposed to open the deal Dec. 6 on regular HBO at a location to be determined, perhaps Houston. No opponent is signed, and, although former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey has been linked to the fight, De La Hoya said Alvarez could face brawler James Kirkland, who recently turned down a fight with Gabriel Rosado for Nov. 8 on HBO's Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev telecast.

"Absolutely, it's a possibility. Maybe Kirkland," De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya was due to be in New York by Monday night and said he planned to meet with Alvarez and HBO this week to talk about the particulars of the December fight.

De La Hoya added that he hopes the Alvarez deal with HBO won't negatively impact his dealings with Espinoza and Showtime, which has been the exclusive home to Golden Boy's major fights since HBO booted the company off the network 18 months ago -- before ironing things out in the past few weeks.

"I have Leo Santa Cruz signed to Golden Boy, I have Deontay Wilder signed to Golden Boy, I have 'Kid Chocolate' [Peter Quillin] signed to Golden Boy. We have business to do," De La Hoya said, naming three boxers who have been regulars on Showtime. "But I didn't have those fighters calling me every day saying they wanted to be with HBO, so we have business to do and fights to make. This is nothing personal.

"When I said I wanted to work with every promoter and deal with all the networks and make good fights, I think this is another indication that I am dead serious."

Lawsuit vs. Canelo headed to mediation

September, 24, 2014
The big news of the week as it relates to Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions is that they are headed back to HBO after Alvarez signed a multifight contract this week for the network to once again televise his bouts on both the regular network as well as HBO PPV.

Alvarez had been fighting on rival Showtime for the past two years in the wake of a falling out between HBO and Golden Boy, one that stemmed, in large part, from HBO opting for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight on HBO PPV in September 2012 (on Mexican Independence Day weekend) instead of supporting an Alvarez fight.

Getting less publicity than Alvarez’s new deal, however, is the ongoing lawsuit filed by All-Star Boxing promoter Felix “Tuto” Zabala Jr. against Alvarez and Golden Boy.

The crux of the suit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court in Florida in early 2011, is that Zabala contends that he signed Alvarez to a four-year promotional deal in 2008 and that Golden Boy interfered and stole the fighter. Zabala is seeking millions in punitive damages.

These kinds of cases typically move at a snail’s pace, but there has been some movement in the Alvarez one. The sides are scheduled to meet for mediation in Miami on Friday. If there is no resolution via mediation, a trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 8, two days after Alvarez is tentatively scheduled for the first fight of his HBO deal.

Oscar, Arum inch closer to doing business

September, 13, 2014
LAS VEGAS -- When Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya paid a visit a couple of months ago to the Los Angeles home of Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, it was to put the years of animosity behind them, not to talk any specific business.

After all, for many years they had been a great team. Between De La Hoya's work in the ring and Arum's brilliant promotion of him they made hundreds of millions of dollars together and tons of big fights.

[+] EnlargeBob Arum, Oscar De La Hoya
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesAfter years of division between them, promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya are looking to potentially work together.
But the relationship ultimately went south, De La Hoya went out on his own, and the Top Rank-Golden Boy so-called cold war raged. It had a detrimental impact on boxing over the past several years because the companies refused to match their fighters against other, depriving fans of numerous fights we all wanted to see.

When De La Hoya decided he wanted to make amends and open the door to working together, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was adamantly against it. He didn't trust Arum and didn't like him either. It was a major bone of contention between De La Hoya and Schaefer and one of the many reasons Schaefer resigned from Golden Boy in an acrimonious split in early June.

With Schaefer gone, De La Hoya reached out to Arum for the initial meeting, which went well as they reminisced about the many good times they had together.

On Thursday, things turned more serious as De La Hoya -- in Las Vegas because Golden Boy is co-promoting Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana rematch at the MGM Grand -- paid a visit to Top Rank's offices and met with Arum and Top Rank president Todd duBoef, Arum's stepson.

Unlike the meeting to bury the hatchet, this one was about business, their first in many years.

"It was a good meeting," De La Hoya told ESPN.com inside the media center at the MGM Grand on Friday. "[We are] just basically opening the doors to working together, to possibly making fights that are worth watching."

So, any fights in particular?

"Well, obviously Canelo came up," De La Hoya said of Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy's biggest star, whose eventual showdown with middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who is aligned with Top Rank, seems inevitable and is boxing's biggest fight not involving Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. "I told Bob that I'm gonna sit down with Canelo next week. He's flying to L.A. and I'm going to sit down with him. So I have no news there. But we talked about Mikey Garcia, we talked about other fighters. We were just talking boxing. We talked about Abner Mares, various fighters and fights that we could possibly make."

De La Hoya said there are plenty of fan-friendly matches the companies can make with each other and that he is hopeful they will be able to do them. Since De La Hoya has taken over the day-to-day operations of Golden Boy in the wake of Schaefer's resignation, he has preached that the only important thing to him in boxing is to make the best fights for the fans. He can now make it more than just talk -- as long as Arum is up for it also. Arum has said multiple times that he is also willing.

"The way it ended was I told Bob, 'I'll give you a call next week,'" De La Hoya said. "We're gonna see what happens this weekend, we'll see what Canelo wants and then we'll talk.

"There was no dialogue before, so the fact that we are having dialogue, the fact that the doors are open, we're on the right path."

Santa Cruz, fans deserve bigger fight

September, 10, 2014
Leo Santa CruzEsther Lin/ShowtimeAll-action boxer Leo Santa Cruz defends his junior featherweight title Saturday against Manuel Roman.
LAS VEGAS -- Junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz is one of the most fan-friendly fighters in boxing. He throws tons of punches and usually has a smile on his face inside an
d outside the ring.

The former bantamweight titleholder -- he vacated to move up in weight -- will make the third defense of his featherweight title Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 8 ET) in one of the most coveted spots a fighter could ask for: the co-feature of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s rematch with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

But instead of fighting a big name or a unification bout, which Santa Cruz has called for, or even a top contender, he is fighting Manuel Roman (17-2-3, 6 KOs), his former sparring partner. This is not a fight worthy of such a massive platform.

It sure is a far cry from other recent Mayweather co-features, such as Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse or Amir Khan-Luis Collazo.

While Roman is a hard worker and a nice guy, he hasn't done a single thing of note to get this title shot -- much less in the co-feature of a major pay-per-view. He has never fought a scheduled 12-round fight, has had only two 10-rounders, and has been fighting mainly six- and eight-round fights.

Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs) would prefer a bigger fight, but he accepted Roman because that is who manager Al Haymon put in front of him.

"I don't like saying no to no fights. The first guy they offered to me was [Roman]," Santa Cruz said Tuesday. "So I was like, 'yeah.' I wanted to give him the opportunity. He was a good amateur growing up. So I wanted to give him the opportunity. Everybody deserves it, so I said yes.

"I wanted to fight a bigger name or a champion, but I didn't want to contradict the promoter [Golden Boy] or [Haymon]. I just said, 'yeah,' and they made the fight."

It puts Santa Cruz in a no-win situation. If he cruises to a win, that's what he was supposed to do. If he loses, it's a disaster.

"Fighters like Roman are dangerous," Santa Cruz said. "They come with everything and sometimes they surprise you. We don't underestimate anybody and we always come ready.

"I know he will come hungry, but I have trained hard and I won't let that happen."

Roman, of course, is aiming for the huge upset.

"We're here to try to disappoint Leo Santa Cruz," Roman said. "I've been working out very hard three times a day and also focusing on strength and conditioning. Nothing worries me. I know myself, I'm ready. He's just a great fighter who throws a lot of punches, but I'm a better boxer.

"I've known Leo for a while. We used to train together and that builds my confidence up. I'm a great counterpuncher and he's a slugger, and I think that works to my advantage."

Assuming Santa Cruz beats Roman, he does want a unification fight next.

"Hopefully, we get the victory and we can fight [unified champion Guillermo] Rigondeaux and make that happen. If not, hopefully [newly crowned titlist Carl] Frampton or [secondary titleholder] Scott Quigg."
Adrien Broner Al Bello/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesAdrien Broner will return as a junior welterweight to headline a tripleheader Sept. 6.

Junior welterweight contenders Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse are both penciled in for Sept. 6 returns on Showtime, although not against each other.

Golden Boy Promotions is working on putting together a tripleheader for the show, which Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) would headline in his second fight since moving down to junior welterweight after losing his welterweight belt to Marcos Maidana in a terrific fight in December. Broner bounced back from a loss on May 3 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Maidana undercard to win a one-sided 10-round decision against Carlos Molina.

“Broner would be the main event with Matthysse as a co-feature. I can confirm that,” Golden Boy Promotions vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. “We don’t have a confirmation on a third fight yet. I gave [Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza] a few ideas. He’s supposed to let me know. He’s willing to do a tripleheader, but the third fight is up in the air.”

So are the opponents for Broner and Matthysse, although Gomez has a list of potential foes he said he and Espinoza are discussing.

Although Gomez would love to match Broner and Matthysse with each other at some point, people should not read into their appearance on the same card as any sort of official prelude to such a fight.

“No, they are not fighting each other [on Sept. 6],” Gomez said. “I would love for them to fight each other, but right now it’s just two guys who need to fight. These are two exciting fighters and two of the top guys in the division fighting on the same card.”

The location for the card has not been determined. Gomez said that Broner would like it to be in his hometown of Cincinnati, which is a possibility. South Florida and San Antonio, where Maidana beat Broner, are other possibilities.

Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs), a big puncher from Argentina, lost a decision in a high-profile fight to unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia last September on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard and bounced back to stop John Molina in the 11th round in April in a fantastic fight, one that is a leading fight of the year candidate.

Another Golden Boy exit

June, 17, 2014
The shakeup at Golden Boy Promotions continues.

Bruce Binkow, the chief operating officer and chief marketing officer, has also left the company. His last day was Friday. Whether he was fired or resigned, well, nobody is saying.

Binkow, who has been with the company since 2007, did not want to get into the details when contacted by ESPN.com, but did confirm that his last day was Friday.

Golden Boy also confirmed Binkow’s departure and offered ESPN.com a statement from spokesman Stefan Friedman.

“Golden Boy Promotions is solely focused on one goal -- giving fans the fights they want to see,” he said. “We are fully aware that some might have different aspirations, and we wish them well in their new endeavors. As for us, we will not relent until boxing's cold war is over and all promoters leave their egos at the door in favor of putting fans first."

Binkow, whose departure does not come as much of a surprise, is the second high-ranking company official to depart this month.

He was a close ally of Richard Schaefer, who resigned his position as chief executive officer on June 2 after months of internal battles with Oscar De La Hoya, the company co-founder, president and majority shareholder, over the direction of the company.

Nicole Becerra, Schaefer’s longtime executive assistant, also left the company in recent days.