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Thursday, August 6, 2009
Schaefer in Big Apple to wheel and deal

Your weekly random thoughts. …

• Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has come East to make deals. When it comes to closing a deal, Schaefer is one of the best in the business. The former Swiss banker is a no-nonsense, put-your-cards-on-the-table kind of guy who seems to enjoy the art of the deal even more than sitting back and watching the fight he negotiated.

So Schaefer is in New York on Thursday and staying through Friday, looking to wheel and deal.

"I have about 70 percent of my time blocked for boxing and the other 30 percent to work on some real-estate deals and something in financial services and banking we may get involved in," Schaefer told me before his first meeting Thursday morning.

Besides meeting with HBO's Kery Davis (who programs boxing for the network) and Mark Taffet (who runs the pay-per-view department), Schaefer hopes to make strides on significant fights for two of Golden Boy's cornerstone fighters: Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins.

First up is a meeting with Lou DiBella that may finalize a fight between welterweight titleholders Mosley and Andre Berto. They've been stalled over the money for a few weeks, but there's nothing like a face-to-face meeting to get the ball rolling again.

"We've had conversations about Mosley and Berto, so the main topic with Lou is to see if we can get it done," Schaefer said.

Schaefer said the date HBO is holding in anticipation of a deal is Dec. 5. He said the fight would probably take place in Las Vegas, although Schaefer said there is also interest from a Caribbean island (which he wouldn't name) to host the fight.

Schaefer will also meet with Main Events CEO Kathy Duva in an effort to make a January fight between Hopkins and cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek. Hopkins, the former middleweight and light heavyweight champ, called Adamek out in February, but the deal fizzled when the offer Hopkins insisted Schaefer extend was so low as to be laughable. Now it seems as though Hopkins and Schaefer are serious about making it happen.

"Kathy has a position and we have a position and nothing really happened last time," Schaefer said. "And I don't think HBO was really ready to step up then. Now I think it's different. So we'll see. I made a commitment to meet with Kathy in person and see what we can do."

Knowing Schaefer as well as I do, I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't get at least one of the fights done. I think there's a good chance he'll leave New York on his way to making both of them, which would be great for his fighters and even better for fight fans.

• Top-level live boxing on Versus looks to be about done. Other than two more club shows that the network will air before the end of the year under a deal with Golden Boy, Versus will burn off the remaining live card it owes Tournament of Contenders from its deal to broadcast "The Contender" reality series. The Sept. 17 show will be headlined by a decent junior middleweight main event featuring former titlist Verno Phillips against former welterweight titlist Carlos Quintana, according to DiBella, who is doing the show with TOC's Jeff Wald. The co-feature will pit "Contender" runner-up Ehinomen Ehikhamenor against ticket-seller Dewey Cooper in a cruiserweight fight in Primm, Nev. Decent show, but certainly nothing to get too excited about. Versus could have been a huge player in boxing but bungled it from the beginning with a misguided exclusive contract with Top Rank. If this is the way it's going to end, what a shame.

• Whatever happens between Vitali Klitschko and Cris Arreola when they fight for a heavyweight title Sept. 26 in Los Angeles, I know one thing: At least Arreola took the fight, instead of running away like David Haye did.

• You know how you can tell Manny Pacquiao has crossed over into the mainstream? I was watching a WWE show Tuesday night, and during the main event -- ECW champion Christian's excellent title-retaining extreme-rules rematch against former champ Tommy Dreamer -- announcer Matt Striker referred to one of Christian's blows as "Manny Pacquiao-like." You gotta love that.

• That Roger Mayweather, he's a class act, huh?

• Forget about the proposed Allan Green-Sakio Bika super middleweight fight on the Sept. 19 Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard. DiBella told me Green passed on the fight and instead will fight Oct. 2 on DiBella's "ShoBox" card on Showtime. (He'll face Victor Oganov.) DiBella's newly signed prospects, light heavyweight Marcus Johnson and welterweight Antwone Smith, will also appear on the tripleheader. Green, of course, is on top of Showtime's list in case somebody falls out of the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament that begins Oct. 17, so the move probably makes sense. Though Green will make less against Oganov than he would against Bika, Oganov is an easier fight and he keeps Showtime happy at the same time.

• It's not done yet, but I have been led to believe by more than one source involved in the talks that the proposed Oct. 3 HBO fight between middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams is inching its way toward being finalized. I hope it gets done. It's a tremendous fight.

• I thought the promotional spots Showtime unveiled last weekend for the Super Six World Boxing Classic were terrific. Watching them made me wish the tournament started tomorrow. I also thought Antonio Tarver, who had what amounted to an audition as an analyst on last week's "ShoBox" telecast, was pretty darn good. He doesn't have much left to give in the ring, but he could have a second career behind the mike.

• Golden Boy signed former junior welterweight titlist Vivian Harris this week. Why, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine.

• I wonder if referee David Mendoza has had a chance to review the tape of the Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell fight. If he can bring himself to view it, I'm sure he would admit he made the wrong call on the head butt that brought an end to the fight, which was ruled a TKO win for Bradley instead of a no-contest. That said -- and I know Campbell had an eye injury, and I've always liked and respected his willingness to fight anybody -- let's be honest: Campbell basically quit after the third round. It seemed he was hoping to get the no-contest call even though Mendoza had already ruled (albeit wrongly) that a head butt caused his cut. Can you imagine Arturo Gatti -- whose memory Campbell honored by entering the ring to his music and by wearing a Gatti shirt -- ever bailing on a fight in the same situation? The answer is no.

• Sultan Ibragimov retired last week. Yawn.

• DVD pick of the week: I haven't seen a really good heavyweight fight in quite awhile, and I was in the mood. So into the archive I went for an underrated classic: It was April 1, 2006 in Cleveland, where Sergei Liakhovich and Lamon Brewster engaged in an all-action slugfest for 12 bruising rounds on Showtime. Liakhovich, who was coming off a 16-month layoff, survived a knockdown in the seventh round to win the decision and claim a title in a rousing brawl. However, neither man was ever the same. Brewster took more than a year off, battled serious eye injuries and was pulverized in a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko in his return. Liakhovich has fought only twice since, losing his title via 12th-round knockout to Shannon Briggs and then getting wiped out in a lopsided decision against Nikolai Valuev.