Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Golden Boy wins purse bid
By Dan Rafael
Golden Boy Promotions on Wednesday won a purse bid to gain control of the rematch between light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who attended the purse bid at WBC headquarters in Mexico City, told ESPN.com that his winning bid was $1,911,500, beating the offer of $1,752,000 made by Yvon Michel, Pascal's promoter.
Pascal, of Montreal, and Philadelphia's Hopkins fought to a controversial draw Dec. 18 in Quebec City, and the WBC ordered an immediate rematch. HBO made a deal to buy the fight for May 21 at a site to be determined, and Schaefer and Hopkins worked out their side of the deal.
Surprisingly, Michel and Pascal were unable to come an agreement on their side, so the purse bid went ahead as scheduled and Golden Boy won.
Pascal is due 55 percent of the winning bid ($1,051,325), with Hopkins due 45 percent ($860,175). However, because the fight will generate far more than the amount of the purse bid -- HBO alone is paying more for the fight than the bid amount -- Hopkins' deal with Golden Boy likely will pay him significantly more.
Pascal likely will negotiate a larger purse with Michel.
"Yvon could not come to an agreement with Pascal, so this means he will go back to Canada to meet with Pascal and try to work something out, but the plan is still for the fight to happen May 21 on HBO," Schaefer said. "I don't know what Yvon offered to Pascal, but I know it was more than what he would be entitled to from the purse bid."
The rematch likely will take place in Canada -- either Montreal or Quebec City -- although Schaefer now controls the site and said he would explore other options, especially if they cannot get a firm commitment that the referee and judges would not be from Canada.
"The potential sites I listed on my bid were Montreal, Quebec City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Philadelphia," Schaefer said. "We want to see where we can maximize the revenues. Yvon is going back to Pascal to work out a deal. Bernard and Golden Boy, we have a deal, so we are ready to go.
"As Bernard has said, he is willing to go back to Canada, assuming that it's neutral officials. Bernard was very impressed with the fan support he got in Quebec City. By the end of the night the crowd was cheering, 'Hopkins! Hopkins!' So he has no problem going back to Canada, but it has to be neutral officials. If not, the fight will take place in the United States."
Even though Pascal and Michel had not been able to make a deal before the purse bid, Schaefer said he believed the fight still will take place.
"I am convinced the fight will happen," Schaefer said. "It's the fight they both want and we already have television lined up and interest from venues. Yvon and Pascal couldn't agree on a purse amount, so it went to a bid and now it is settled."
If the fight didn't take place because Pascal, 28, and Michel could not come to terms, Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs) likely would be stripped of the title.
Hopkins (51-5-2, 32 KOs), who turned 46 in January, is bidding to become the oldest world champion in boxing history by breaking the record held by former heavyweight champion George Foreman.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.