Wednesday began with breakfast in Pasadena with Oscar De La Hoya and assurances that all was well with his Golden Boy Boxing Promotions.
Wednesday continued with a phone conversation with Richard Schaefer and assurances that all was not well.
De La Hoya is the founder, president and majority stockholder of Golden Boy, a major force in the sport. Schaefer is Golden Boy's chief executive, who played a major role in building it into a major force.
De La Hoya said that talks were proceeding with Schaefer and that "this will be settled this week." He also said, "This is like a marriage. You have your disagreements, but you don't want a divorce."
Schaefer said he couldn't comment extensively and added that the only talks he knew about this week were "between our lawyers."
Sounds like a divorce.
If you are a boxing fan, this is significant because these are people who make the fights. If you are ever going to see Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight Manny Pacquiao, Golden Boy would be involved in some way, at least as the current boxing world turns. Even though there is a Mayweather Promotions and that banner is well displayed at all his fights, his company doesn't have a license to promote in Nevada, nor does it have the manpower to put on one of these huge shows. Golden Boy does and has.
This is also significant because Golden Boy is one of two major boxing promotion companies in the U.S. The other is Top Rank, run by Bob Arum.
TV is a big part of this, as it is of everything in sports. Golden Boy's big fights are on Showtime, Top Rank's on HBO. Currently, never the 'twain shall meet.
Arum hates Schaefer and has said so publicly in so many words. Schaefer hates Arum and has said so publicly in so many words. De La Hoya fought for Arum, together they made millions, they split up, kissed and made up several times, and, in the last several years, split up again. De La Hoya pretty much said, in so many words, he hated Arum. Specifically, he referred to Top Rank's business as a "sinking ship."
They became the Boxing Bickersons.
Recently, De La Hoya called Arum and they kissed and made up again. Zsa Zsa Gabor didn't have this many reconciliations.
Arum and Schaefer have not made up. Probably won't in their lifetime, although there is always the overriding caveat that says, "this is boxing."
Arum is formerly a New York lawyer and Schaefer formerly a Swiss banker. That shouldn't matter but seems to. In business, things are not supposed to get personal. With these two, they did.
It became a several-year history of Arum distrusting Schaefer and shooting off his mouth about it, as he tends to. And Schaefer hearing the public shots he was taken from Arum and privately seething more and more, as he tends to.
So, once De La Hoya sought out Arum last month, and they had the reconciliation No. 467, by phone and in private meetings, Schaefer viewed that as the straw that broke the Swiss banker's back.
De La Hoya has responded recently to questions about his company's internal turmoil by calling things "peachy," and saying that Schaefer has "just been on vacation."
Schaefer has responded by saying, "Things are absolutely not peachy."
And so, as the world of big-time boxing turns, it is like a smelly pig on a spit.
Expect De La Hoya and Schaefer to part company, with the big winners the same big winners as in all these things. The lawyers.
Expect De La Hoya to find a new chief executive and start attempting to do business with Arum and Top Rank. Expect the conflicts of the cable networks and beer sponsors of each promotion group to make De La Hoya's desire to "do whatever it takes to get the best fights to the fight fans," a tough hill to climb.
Expect Schaefer's prediction that "Arum will eat De La Hoya alive" to possibly come to pass. In boxing, never bet against the guy with the fastest hands (Mayweather), fastest feet (Mayweather) and biggest mouth (Mayweather), nor against Arum's bottom line.
The behind-the-scene whispers have a disgruntled Schaefer taking some of Golden Boy's boxers to Mayweather's advisor, the elusive, seldom seen, almost never quoted, deal-maker-in-smoke-filled-rooms, Al Haymon. De La Hoya bravely dismissed this.
"That never crossed my mind," he said. "I don't even want to think about that. Plus, I have a good relationship with Al Haymon."
Stop the presses. That means he's actually seen Haymon. That Haymon exists.
Oh yes, and just in case you wondered, Arum hates Haymon and Haymon, if he exists, probably feels the same about Arum.
So, what have we learned today, class?
-- That Golden Boy, one of the more profitable and leading boxing promotions companies, is about to unravel at the top.
-- That Arum doesn't always have the best boxers, but he somehow always holds all the cards.
-- That De La Hoya, the Golden Boy himself, who goes into the International Boxing Hall of Fame next month in a greatly celebrated event, may lead the sport in both good intentions and deadly naivete.
-- And, despite all this, fight fans will still buy tickets and pay-per-view showings because they like to watch people punch one another.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times