Richard Schaefer has risen in the ranks of boxing deal-makers in the past 10 years in eye-opening and impressive fashion. He came from a banking background, and now stands with Bob Arum, in the business since 1966, as one of the top two promoters in the game.
You can underestimate Schaefer's toughness if you judge by appearance and tone, as he has a Wall Street smoothness and lacks the Brooklyn edge that Arum has. But Schaefer does get his point across, often in a subtly aggressive and slick manner, when he wants to. Like at the Barclays Center presser Wednesday, when he was asked about Don King.
Saturday headliner Bernard Hopkins has said in recent weeks that he'd like to beat King's man Tavoris Cloud because that would mean he'd stick the final nail in King's promotional-company coffin. "That's a harsh thing to say," Schaefer said with a grin. "But Don had his time. There's no need to rub it in, but now it's over."
He continued to toe the line between homage and insult when he said King's rich history enables him to draw on decades of memories. "It's great living in the past," Schaefer said, insinuating without being overt that he think King relies on dated ploys. He said King often yells "Viva Puerto Rico!" and waves the PR flag, even when there is no Puerto Rican fighter on the card.
King deserves to coast, at age 81, Schaefer said: "He should be able to enjoy life."
Schaefer grinned as he shared that he'd gotten a call on his cell that very morning, before the presser. "It was Don King, asking for more money," he said. "It reminded me of when we did De La Hoya versus Ricardo Mayorga."
And the answer was? "What do you think it was?" Schaefer asked, his grin widening.
Yes, Schaefer's shots are often the more the sneaky counter-punch variety than a showy, looping overhand right.