Dan Rafael: Oscar De La Hoya

De La Hoya eyes Garcia-Peterson

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15

Like most boxing fans, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya would have preferred to see junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia facing titleholder Lamont Peterson in the main event of last Saturday’s Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

For whatever reason, the fight was not made. De La Hoya and Showtime both said it was the fight they preferred but that the match could not be made for that date -- even though both boxers said they were willing to fight each other. That leaves only their adviser, Al Haymon, who did not want to make the fight. And when he doesn't want to make a fight involving the fighters he works with, it doesn't happen.

Instead, Garcia smoked no-hoper Rod Salka in two lopsided rounds in a nontitle bout at 142 pounds, dropping him three times, including for a devastating knockout on the third knockdown.

Peterson retained his title in his own mismatch, battering helpless Edgar Santana for 10 one-sided rounds before the abuse was finally called off.

If De La Hoya has his way we won't see that kind of card again. He told ESPN.com on Thursday that he was going to press Haymon to make the fight for the end of the year.

"I’m sitting down with Al [on Friday] and we're going to discuss it," De La Hoya said. "That's the fight I'm going to push for. That's the fight that must be made.

"Al knows it and understands. We're on the same page. We must make the best fights happen because the fans are speaking, the media is speaking and the fighters want these fights. It's a matter of me sitting down with Al and talking it over. Al understands that."
Shawn Porter Rob Carr/Getty ImagesShawn Porter will defend his welterweight title on Aug. 16 against Kell Brook in Carson, California.
Unless a promoter is being paid a site fee for a fight -- typically by a casino -- the promoter usually will look to hold the card in a venue where he can sell the most tickets and, thus, maximize revenue.

That's why, for example, Miguel Cotto fights in New York's Madison Square Garden so often, why Top Rank took lightweight titlist Terence Crawford home to Omaha for his first defense last month and why Golden Boy loads up its cards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with New York fighters.

So when Golden Boy announced that its excellent Aug. 16 Showtime tripleheader would be at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, I was a bit surprised.

Don't get me wrong -- StubHub Center is one of the best boxing venues in the country. There have been numerous great fights there in its relatively short history.

But the Aug. 16 card features welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (from Akron, Ohio) against Kell Brook (England), super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (Australia) against Anthony Dirrell (Flint, Michigan) and lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (Weslaco, Texas) against Daniel Estrada (Mexico).

They are all solid and worthy matchups, but not a single bout has any local tie to Southern California and none of the fighters is a remotely notable ticket seller in the region.

So I asked Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya why he put the show in a place that didn't seem to make much sense given the composition of the card. I was not surprised when De La Hoya made the case for the StubHub Center, which is an outdoor tennis arena that holds about 8,000 for boxing.

"The StubHub Center was a perfect fit for this type of card," De La Hoya said. "As you know, StubHub Center has the reputation of staging some of the best fights in recent years. We saw [Robert] Guerrero and [Yoshihiro] Kamegai, which was a tremendous, tremendous fight [on June 21]. When putting this event together, the StubHub Center was the first choice. The fact that you have no local fighters does not matter.

"I feel that the fans in Los Angeles who will be attending are just accustomed to watching some great fights no matter where they're from, and the fact that the fighters will be performing at the StubHub Center, there's a bit of added pressure for every single fighter because you must perform. It reminds me kind of like the 'Thunderdome' movie with Mel Gibson. I mean, you have to fight there, you have to. The atmosphere is great. The fans are expecting great fights and I believe this is what Kell Brook and Shawn Porter and every fighter on the card will give us -- a tremendous, tremendous fight."

Indeed, the StubHub Center has been home to some modern classics besides Guerrero-Kamegai. It has also hosted such great fights as Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez I and III (the 2008 fight of the year), Timothy Bradley Jr.-Ruslan Provodnikov (the 2013 fight of the year), Lucas Matthysse-John Molina (a strong 2014 fight of the year contender), Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I, Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo and Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez (on the same card in June 2013) and Paul Williams-Antonio Margarito.

Here's hoping at least one of the fights on Aug. 16 joins that list.
When welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and mandatory challenger Kell Brook agreed to their fight they also agreed to undergo random drug testing -- blood and urine -- that would be overseen by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

However, neither fighter had been tested as of last week, raising questions about what was going on for a fight that is scheduled for Aug. 16 (Showtime) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Even Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and Porter were a bit confused about what was up with the testing when they spoke to the media on a teleconference about the fight last week, and I asked about the drug testing protocol.

“Well, the drug testing was handled through [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez and through [Porter adviser] Al Haymon,” De La Hoya said. “There is a drug testing in place, which the fighters should already have been taking, and going through the process.”

Porter, however, said he had not yet been tested and was expecting it.

“Well, boxing, you roll with the punches. ... I just know that we are supposed to be testing,” Porter said.

Gomez explained what happened in an email, saying the issue happened because the fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 6 but was moved up to Aug. 16. He also assured that there would be testing over the final few weeks before the fight.

“In order to use USADA, they need at least six weeks to get all the required documents and testing done,” Gomez said. “When the date changed to Aug. 16, there wasn’t enough time. We then, collectively [Golden Boy and Brook promoter Matchroom Boxing], agreed to have the California State Athletic Commission handle the testing. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, through the [California] Department of Consumer Affairs, will handle the testing for us. They start testing this week.”

Gomez said the testing would include blood and urine, although he was unsure if it would follow the exact protocol that USADA uses.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs), 26, of Akron, Ohio, will be making his second defense when he faces Brook (32-0, 22 KOs), 28, of England.

Andrade wants a piece of Canelo

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
Junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade, like every other 154-pounder, wants to fight Canelo Alvarez because it means big money and recognition.

Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian, hasn’t had a really big fight yet. He won his title in November and made his first title defense on June 14 by dominating mandatory challenger Brian Rose. He dropped Rose twice and stopped him in the seventh round of a blowout.

Andrade has nothing scheduled, although a fight with former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey has been thrown around. But what Andrade, 26, of Providence, Rhode Island, wants is a major fight, which one with former unified titleholder Alvarez would be.

Alvarez, who outpointed Erislandy Lara last Saturday night in a Showtime PPV headliner, is slated to fight again in November and has no opponent lined up. So Andrade, of course, is throwing his name into contention.

"I read some comments that Oscar [De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter] made to Lara after the fight that there is a line about 10 people deep to fight Canelo, and Lara would have to get to the back of it,” Andrade said. “What Oscar failed to mention is that line forms behind me.

"I am the WBO champion and I am undefeated. As I look down the rankings, I just defeated my mandatory Brian Rose, and Alvarez is ranked No. 2 by the WBO. He will be elevated to No. 1, and I am ready and willing to fight him for my title. I just hope he would be prepared for the beating I will put on him."

It’s hard to blame Andrade, an outstanding technical boxer with underrated power, for calling Alvarez out. If the fight ever did happen Andrade would probably give him fits if not beat him outright.
Juan Manuel LopezGabriel Gonzalez/Hoganphotos/Golden BoyFormer two-division titlist Juan Manuel Lopez faces unbeaten Francisco Vargas on Saturday night.
If many had left Juan Manuel Lopez's career for dead after he suffered two knockout losses to Orlando Salido in featherweight world title fights during a three-fight stretch in 2011 and 2012, then pretty much everyone else kicked dirt on it when Mikey Garcia destroyed him in a fourth-round knockout in another title fight 13 months ago.

But Lopez, a southpaw with outstanding power, resurrected his career by knocking out former titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon in the second round of their rematch at junior lightweight on March 15.

Puerto Rico's Lopez, who has won world titles at junior featherweight and featherweight, is looking to put another strong victory in the bank to push himself toward a title shot in a third weight class when he faces Francisco Vargas of Mexico in a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout on the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara undercard Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

"I felt very good. I felt very happy," Lopez said through a translator about the win over Ponce De Leon. "Unfortunately, you're only as good as your last fight, and I was coming off a loss to Mikey Garcia, so a lot of people didn't give me the opportunity. But I didn't listen to them. I didn't listen to any of them.

"I only listened to my team. And we knew what we had to do and, obviously, we came out with a spectacular victory. And that's what we look forward to doing this coming fight too."

Said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya (whose brother, Joel, manages Vargas): "In his last fight, Juanma Lopez showed everybody what it means to be a warrior, what it means to be a true fighter, because he fought with his heart and he showed everybody what he's made of."

On paper, Lopez-Vargas looks like a 50-50 fight and just might be the most action-packed bout on the pay-per-view. A win would boost the winner's title prospects considerably.

It's the prospect of winning a world title in a third weight class that drives the 31-year-old Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs).

"I'm very motivated to put on a great performance, a great fight, and obviously looking forward to winning the world title again, to being a three-time champion," Lopez said. "Winning this fight will put me there, so that's where the focus is.

"My goal is to become world champion again. I'm very proud of what Miguel [Cotto] has done [by winning the middleweight title on June 7]. He gave Puerto Rico a title. And I'm looking forward to doing the same. But for me to do that I have to beat Francisco Vargas, and that's where my goal is right now, that's where my focus is, on Francisco Vargas and to beating him."

Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs), 29, who was a 2008 Mexican Olympian, has scored two notable victories in a row, both 10-round decisions against Jerry Belmontes in December and Abner Cotto in March.

He's also looking for a victory Saturday to propel him into a possible world title bout.

"I'm very motivated. I know he has tremendous experience and I know that he's a great fighter," Vargas said through a translator. "But that's what we're working on. We're working with the sparring partners, working very hard, because I know a victory here will get me ready for the world title, and that's what we want."
Abner MaresGene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsAbner Mares should be rooting for peace between Golden Boy and Top Rank.

If there is one fighter in the Golden Boy Promotions stable who might benefit the most from the newfound peace between Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, it is clearly former three-division titleholder Abner Mares.

De La Hoya and Arum recently put aside years of animosity and pledged to work together on fights, at least where they make sense. That is music to Mares’ ears, since he has few marquee featherweights available to him in the Golden Boy stable while Top Rank has several of whom would make for interesting and marketable fights.

First, Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) needs to bounce back with a win against Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in their scheduled 10-round bout, in the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara junior middleweight fight on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

This will be Mares' first time fighting in the 11 months since he lost his featherweight belt by first-round knockout to Jhonny Gonzalez. But if Mares comes through, there could be potential fights against a quartet of Top Rank featherweight titleholders: Nonito Donaire (a fight that was one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts, but it didn’t happen because of the bad blood between companies), Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters.

“Obviously, you've heard the news, my promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, is looking to work with Top Rank on fights in the future and, look, they have great fighters, great champions,” Mares said. “I feel very comfortable at 126 [pounds] right now. That's what I have in front of me right now, and I have an opponent [Oquendo] that I'm concentrating on him.”

Mares would like to fight for a world title in a fourth weight class at some point, but he said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being. Ideally, it would mean facing at least one of those Top Rank titleholders.

“I want to go in for the fourth division [title], but sometimes when you think with the heart only, it can run into mistakes and it could cost you,” he said. “It could have cost me a loss right there. So, right now, I'm making the weight very comfortable. I'm very happy at 126 and we're going to continue here.”

Golden Boy shakeup continues

June, 30, 2014
Jun 30
If there was ever a doubt that Oscar De La Hoya has taken full control of Golden Boy Promotions in the wake of the resignation of Richard Schaefer as CEO and the exit of chief operating offer and chief marketing officer Bruce Binkow last month, it was never more clear than on Monday.

De La Hoya fired three staffers: deputy COO Armando Gaytan, executive vice president Raul Jaimes and vice president of marketing Nicole Sparks, according to a source close to Golden Boy.

"There's no doubt that Oscar is focused and fully in charge," the source said. "From the moment Schaefer left, Oscar has been telling everyone that changes were coming and that anyone who had any goal other than making great fights for fans was about to get a wake-up call. The alarm rang [Monday]."

None of the departures can come as a total surprise.

Jaimes has been close friends with De La Hoya since childhood, but Schaefer's wife is Jaimes' aunt; he is the one who introduced Schaefer and De La Hoya. Gaytan is married to Nicole Becerra, Schaefer's longtime executive assistant, who left the company shortly after Schaefer. Sparks reported to Binkow, whose exit came as no surprise because he was Schaefer's right-hand man.

De La Hoya declined comment through a spokesman.
Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl LomachenkoGene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden BoyAlthough it came together thanks to a purse bid, Saturday's Gary Russell Jr.-Vasyl Lomachenko bout could go down as the beginning of a new relationship between promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank.
Now that Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank boss Bob Arum are cozy again, and both say that they are willing to do business with each other, it seems as though this particular boxing cold war is over.

A lot of interesting fights are probably still off the table if adviser Al Haymon, whose relationship with Arum has been in the toilet for years, is involved -- but whatever fighters are under contract to Golden Boy can probably be matched now with Top Rank if it makes sense.

A few months before De La Hoya and Arum made peace, Golden Boy won a purse bid for the vacant featherweight title bout between Garry Russell Jr. (a Haymon fighter, by the way) and Vasyl Lomachenko, the two-time Olympic gold medalist with Arum.

The purse bid paved the way for Golden Boy to take control of the fight, which is part of a Showtime tripleheader Saturday night (10 ET), without having to involve Top Rank. But maybe now that De La Hoya and Arum are on good terms more fights like this can happen in the future, especially now that Richard Schaefer, who opposed working with Top Rank, has resigned as Golden Boy CEO.

Now, keep in mind, Arum and Haymon aren't about to begin matching their fighters together, so a lot of good fights are clearly still off the table. But, hey, this is a start.

Russell said he was glad that his fight with Lomachenko, although done under a purse bid, has helped break the ice.

"Honestly, it's a big honor to break the cycle of the Al Haymon and Bob Arum/Top Rank and Golden Boy dissent, because I think you have these great fighters on both sides of the fence that the fans would love to see," he said. "Now it's a possibility to fulfill them or give them a possibility to see it.

"I think it's a big breakthrough for me and Lomachenko to be able to be one of the first to actually do it, and hopefully this will open the door for a lot of the other fights that the fans would want to see take place."

Golden Boy did not have to involve Top Rank in the promotion at all and Lomachenko could have refused to participate in any way. But both camps have done their part, making it a seemingly friendly, drama-free promotion.

Moretti said a lot of the cold war stuff is overblown.

"I think that's what the media and social media likes to jump on but, you know, at the end of the day, I just can't see in the middle of the sixth round guys rooting for Al or Bob," Moretti said. "It's a fight, and the fight Lomachenko has to worry about is Gary Russell and Gary Russell has got to worry about Lomachenko, and anything other than that is just Twitter talk, which people seem to love lately."

De La Hoya has been saying for weeks -- since his meeting of the minds with Arum -- that he wants to promote fights with any promoter that can help him make the biggest bouts for his fighters.

"I think it's wonderful to hear from a fighter like Gary Russell that he wants to engage in these big, major fights, regardless of promoters," De La Hoya said. "That's what it's really all about. It's not about promoters and egos. It's about the fighters and the fans. So, I'm optimistic that in the near future the fight fans will get what they deserve."

Porter-Brook headed to Aug. 9

June, 11, 2014
Jun 11
Despite Richard Schaefer’s resignation as Golden Boy Promotions CEO last week those at the company say it’s business as usual.

There are fights to arrange and cards to promote. President Oscar De La Hoya, fresh off his Sunday induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is coming into the office regularly and working on events.

The company is promoting a June 21 Showtime tripleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, California -- welterweight Robert Guerrero’s return against Yoshihiro Kamegai, Vasyl Lomachenko against Gary Russell Jr. for a vacant featherweight title and former welterweight titlist Devon Alexander against Jesus Soto Karass -- and also working on other events later in the summer.

One date in the works is tentatively an Aug. 9 Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

One of the fights ticketed for that show is welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against England’s Kell Brook. Golden Boy and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn reached an agreement and a purse bid scheduled for last week was canceled, according to the IBF and Golden Boy vice president and matchmaker Eric Gomez.

“We have a verbal agreement, but there are still some little issues,” Gomez told ESPN.com. “But we have enough of an agreement that (the IBF) was comfortable enough to call off the purse bid. The date we’re shooting for is Aug. 9 but that could change. We have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s but everything is moving in the right direction.”

Several other potential bouts have been mentioned as possibilities for the card. One of them is a fight between Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York and Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for a vacant secondary middleweight title (since Gennady Golovkin was made a “super champion” by an organization).

Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia has also been mentioned for the card as has junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson. (No, they are not fighting each other.)

But Garcia could also wind up fighting in September instead, according to Gomez.

Golden Boy also has addressed the mandatory defense of lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa against Daniel Estrada. A purse bid had been scheduled for June 6 in Mexico City, but Gomez said the sides made a deal.

“We have a deal in place but no date just yet,” he said.

De La Hoya looks back on career

June, 4, 2014
Jun 4

Oscar De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles in a then-record six weight classes, was one of the best fighters of his time and the most popular fighter of his day. On Sunday, he will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, along with two other first-ballot inductees, Felix Trinidad and Joe Calzaghe.

De La Hoya touched on a variety of topics during our interview earlier this week. Here’s what he had to say on some subjects:

Going in with Trinidad, who outpointed him by majority decision in a very controversial 1999 welterweight unification fight

“We have a great relationship. Every time we see each other we can hug each other and laugh. We don’t even talk boxing, that’s how good of relationship we have. He’s a great guy. He was such a people’s champion. Along with Calzaghe, this class is three guys who are fighters inside the ring but are good people outside the ring.

“It makes it more memorable to be going in with Trinidad. But I know I absolutely won the fight (laughing).”

The best performance of his career

“It has to be the first Julio Cesar Chavez fight [to win the junior welterweight title by fourth-round knockout in 1996]. I could have faced the heavyweight champion at the time and I was very confident I would beat him. I felt unstoppable. I felt like the stars were aligned. Everything was perfect. I felt like I was floating in the ring. I felt powerful, compact, every punch was perfect. My movements side to side, even when I was in the ropes, the defense, everything was working. I was so focused. I was in the zone. It is an amazing, amazing feeling, that rush of knowing that victory is in your hands.”

The worst performance of his career

“I would have to say the Felix Sturm fight [to claim a middleweight belt by controversial decision in 2004]. I was facing a 160-pounder no one knew of but he was tough as nails, a good boxer, and I took the challenge because I wanted to be the best at 160. I was very ambitious. Truthfully, and I’m not one to make excuses, but I took the guy lightly. I was like, ‘Who is he?’ I trained in Vegas for a month. I remember gambling, staying up to 3, 4 in the morning. I made it difficult for myself. Truthfully, you feel you’re the winner when you win and the referee is holding your hand in the air. But I didn’t feel like I was the winner that night. I just didn’t feel victorious that night. I didn’t feel like the champion. There were times I did feel like the champion when I didn’t get the victory.”

On other close fights he had

“I did feel like the victor, like the champion, when I fought [Pernell] Whitaker and [Ike] Quartey [and got close decisions]. One fight I felt like the winner was when I fought Shane Mosley the second time and they gave it to him. You can make an argument I beat Floyd Mayweather. I felt as the champion that I did enough to win. That’s the beauty of the sport. When you have these close fights it can go either way. Whether I lost or won I’m OK with it.”

Most important win

“I would have to say Fernando Vargas [by 11th-round knockout to unify junior middleweight titles in 2002], because it not only showed me, but a lot of people, that I have that eye of the tiger, that I can dig deep down and win fights and that I’m not afraid to stand toe-to-toe, not afraid to bleed. He didn’t knock me down but that night I could have gotten knocked down five times and still gotten back up. It was personal, which made it that much more intense.”

Most satisfying win

“The second Chavez fight [to retain the welterweight title by eighth-round knockout by making Chavez quit]. The first time I fought him all the Mexican nationals and all Chavez fans were all against me. You have this kid born in the USA, but he’s not Mexican enough. They were like, ‘He doesn’t fight like a Mexican,' and they were questioning my manhood. So when I stopped him no one gave me credit for it because Chavez was cut.

“In the rematch I beat him at his own game. I stayed flat-footed and fought him toe-to-toe. He hit me with a right hand in the first round, if he would have continued the attack he would have knocked me out. He didn’t know I was hurt. I played it off perfectly. That I could take his punches and that I stopped him, made him quit, it was so satisfying. It showed the nonbelievers that I have what it takes, that I wasn’t just a pretty face and a gold medal. It’s blood and guts. I never expected him to quit. It was satisfying. But it was a double-edged sword because I just stopped my hero.”

What fight didn’t De La Hoya get that he wanted most?

“I would have loved to fight [Hall of Fame junior welterweight champion] Kostya Tszyu. We talked about it a lot but I never understood why I didn’t fight him. It would have been at 140 pounds. That was one of my best weight classes. It would have been a great fight. He had a lot of toughness. He was a great fighter.

“And a rematch with Trinidad. That would have been satisfying. I never understood why I didn’t have a rematch. I would have loved a rematch.”
Two days after Richard Schaefer resigned as the only chief executive in Golden Boy Promotions history, company co-founder, president and majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya finally released a statement.

One can only assume he was talking about Schaefer’s not totally unexpected resignation since he did not mention Schaefer by name in the terse, 37-word statement that did not address any of the issues in a substantive way.

Not sure why it took De La Hoya -- or his handlers -- more than two full days since the resignation to come up with this but here it goes:

“Golden Boy Promotions is moving ahead on all fronts,” De La Hoya said. “We look forward to continuing and expanding our key position in the boxing world and to providing the public with the very best the sport has to offer.”

De La Hoya, who founded Golden Boy with Schaefer in 2002, will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday in Canastota, New York.
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.

Canelo-Lara: No. 1 vs. No. 2

May, 8, 2014
May 8
Canelo AlvarezSoobum Im/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsLooking for the toughest test available in his division, Canelo Alvarez set to face Erislandy Lara.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the unified junior middleweight champion, but his fight last week against Marcos Maidana was at welterweight, where the pound-for-pound king won and also unified titles.

So with Mayweather out of the 154-pound division for the time being, that leaves former titleholder Canelo Alvarez (who lost to Mayweather in a rout in September) and secondary titlist Erislandy Lara as the two best in the business at junior middleweight.

That fact has been played up this week as Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez, Lara and their entourages have taken to the road for a four-city tour -- Tuesday in Los Angeles, Wednesday in San Antonio, Thursday in New York and the conclusion on Friday in Puerto Rico -- to promote their nontitle fight (at 155 pounds) on July 12 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"Right now you are looking at the best 154-pounders in the division, Lara and Canelo," De La Hoya said. "The fact that Canelo wanted this fight shows you that he wants to be great and he wants to fight the best in order to be known as great.

"I commend Canelo for choosing this opponent. He's dangerous and he's a real opponent. There's a lot of similarities between these two fighters and come July 12 we'll see who is the best. I think this is going to be a terrific fight."

Indeed, Alvarez, Mexico's most popular active fighter and a burgeoning pay-per-view attraction, could have picked just about any opponent and made a big payday.

But Alvarez picked the most difficult opponent he could in Lara, a slick Cuban southpaw who many thought he would avoid.

"He is choosing to fight someone that no one wants to fight," said Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza. "Lara is one of the most talented and skilled boxers in the sport. This fight represents everything that is right about boxing -- the best fighting the best. No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the division ... This fight sells itself."

Following the loss to Mayweather, the 23-year-old Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) took on rugged Mexican countryman Alfredo Angulo on March 8 and stopped him in the 10th round of a surprisingly one-sided fight.

After the fight Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs), a 31-year-old defector living in Houston, who had stopped Angulo last June (and then outpointed Austin Trout in December), called out Alvarez at his postfight news conference.

Eventually, Alvarez took up the challenge, wanting to prove that he was not going to duck a top opponent with a very difficult style.

"Lara has talked a lot, you guys [the fans] asked for the fight, and here it is," Alvarez said through a translator. "What you guys ask from me, I will give you. A lot have asked me, 'Why did you take this fight?' I say 'Why not? I will fight anyone. Style doesn't matter.'

"The reality is that a year ago the fans didn't really know Lara. Nobody really knew him. But he has been talking so much that now it's built up and the fans asked for it, so I wanted to give them what they wanted. He disrespected me. But not only me, he disrespected all Mexicans. For him to be saying that he's going to give me a boxing lesson and he's going to take me to school, that's very disrespectful."

Lara did what he had to do to get the fight, whether it was to insult Alvarez on social media or crash his news conference after the fight with Angulo.

"I've never tried this hard to get a fight, and actually get it like I did for this one," Lara said through a translator. "I went to extreme measures, doing things I've never done before. I'm a pretty laid-back guy, but I did everything I could to challenge him and make people, the fans and the media demand that he fight me. It's all because I want to prove that I am the best 154-pound fighter in the world.

"I think he is having problems with weight. That's why he wanted that extra one pound and why we're not fighting for my title. I'm not sure what kind of fight this will be. It could be a war, and I could stand toe-to-toe like I did against Alfredo Angulo, or I can box. It depends how I decide to fight him in the ring. This is the fight, my fight. I win this, I've earned the right to fight Floyd Mayweather next."
Bob Arum, Oscar De La HoyaEthan Miller/Getty ImagesRival promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya have decided to bury the hatchet between them.
As far as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is concerned, he and Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya have buried the hatchet.

Whether that will pave the way for Top Rank and Golden Boy to do business with each other again remains to be seen, but at least the possibility exists for a thaw in boxing's cold war, which has prevented many attractive fights from happening in recent years.

Arum, of course, promoted De La Hoya for most of his Hall of Fame career but, unless you've been living on Mars or under a rock, you know that there has been terrible bad blood between the companies for years.

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer and Arum still have no relationship remaining and neither is interested in dealing with each other, which is one of the issues that has driven a wedge between Schaefer and De La Hoya. While Schaefer steadfastly refuses to do business with Arum, De La Hoya, Golden Boy's majority shareholder, said he is open to it now.

De La Hoya, Arum and Todd duBoef, Arum's stepson and Top Rank president, met at Arum's Los Angeles home last week. It was a personal visit, not for business, but the re-engagement certainly left open the possibility of a business relationship.

"Oscar and I hadn't had a serious conversation since he stopped fighting for Top Rank," Arum said, referring to the Bernard Hopkins fight in 2004. "But when we met and talked, we enjoyed it. We had a good time. It was 2 1/2 hours that we spent bullsh------ about the old days. I really enjoyed it. It was very, very enjoyable. I think Oscar also enjoyed it."

Arum said the meeting came together through an intermediary, who reached out to him on De La Hoya's behalf and planned it.

Most of the time in recent years when you would hear either speak about the other it was only to take shots in the media.

Arum did say that De La Hoya called him around Christmas and they spoke for about 15 minutes on the phone. He said that De La Hoya apologized for some of the hateful things he had said about Arum. De La Hoya, who had been in rehab for alcohol and drug dependency, was working his 12-step program, part of which is to reach out to those you have hurt to make amends.

"When he called around Christmas, it was just about the usual thing, I'm sorry if I offended you, the sort of stuff they tell you in the program, but this meeting at my house, this was real," Arum said. "The only business we talked about was that we would look to do business where we could in the future, but nothing specific. And why not? We're friends now. If we can make a match that's a really good match with his fighter and my fighter why wouldn't we do it?

"Now, it doesn't solve a Mayweather-Pacquiao problem. That's on a much different level, but it solves some problems."

As an example, Arum cited featherweight Jayson Velez, who is co-promoted by Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy. Arum and Cotto Promotions wanted to match featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich, a Top Rank fighter, with Velez on June 7 on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto HBO PPV undercard.

Arum said Cotto Promotions tried to get Golden Boy to allow the fight but that Schaefer wouldn't go for it.

"Schaefer said, 'Absolutely not.' Now, that's not a network problem, that's a problem between promoters," Arum said. "But now that Oscar and I are friends again, that's a fight we could have done. Those types of fights are a start."

Arum said he and De La Hoya didn't rehash the bad times or even apologize to each other for all the hateful things they have said about each other.

"We focused on the good things, on the good experiences," Arum said. "We had years and years of them. It was more us emphasizing the positive. It wasn't a mea culpa for anyone. That wouldn't have been fun. We have a lot of water under the bridge."

During a news conference before the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight on Saturday at the MGM Grand, De La Hoya also addressed the situation.

"All business aside I talked to Bob Arum and there is nothing wrong with that because Bob Arum was my promoter for many years and he helped me build my career to what it was," De La Hoya said. "And I'm grateful for that. And so our meeting was nothing to do with business. Our meeting was just to bury the hatchet, to discuss the old times, the great stories we shared together and that's it.

"But it doesn't necessary mean that down the road, down the line, we can't have another meeting. And maybe it will be based on business. But who knows. Maybe I can lay my head on the pillow at night and know I apologized for what I said about Bob. As long as we are moving forward, that's all that it's about for me."

Arum said that as far as he is concerned, the feud with De La Hoya is over.

"It never even really bothered me because I was schooled by the master and that was Don King and I gave back to him as good as I got," Arum said. "If you're in a battle with a real heavyweight everything else was easy, even when we insulted each other. It happened. When you get as old as I am, things happen and you can't take them back."

So what about repairing the rift with Schaefer?

"I'm not going to talk about that," Arum said.

Jason Quigley signs with GBP

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
Irish amateur standout Jason Quigley has signed with Golden Boy Promotions, the company announced on Tuesday.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have signed with Golden Boy Promotions," said Quigley, a 22-year-old middleweight. "I can't wait to have my first pro fight. This is an amazing opportunity and I will give it my all."

In 2013, Quigley became the first Irish fighter to win a silver medal at the AIBA World Amateur Boxing Championships. He won gold at the 2013 European Championships, among his other tournament victories. Many viewed him as a strong candidate to compete in the 2016 Olympics but he elected to sign a pro contract.

"Jason Quigley is part of the next generation of European boxers who are about to make their mark on the international stage, and we believe he has the skill and determination to go very far in the future," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said in announcing the signing. "It also doesn't hurt that he has the great nation of Ireland behind him, and I know they will support him wherever he goes."

The date of Quigley’s pro debut has not been set.