There’s a substantial difference of opinion between the man who runs Golden Boy Promotions and the former world-champion boxer the Los Angeles-based company is named after.
A day after Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya said he wanted to re-start business with his former promoter and rival, Top Rank promotions Chairman Bob Arum, Golden Boy’s Chief Executive Richard Schaefer said he doesn’t.
In a lengthy telephone conversation with The Times on Tuesday, De La Hoya said, “If anyone with Golden Boy has any differences with Bob, it’s on them. I have nothing against Bob and I feel making fights with Bob is beneficial to the fans and the market.”
“Well, I guess it’s on me,” Schaefer told The Times on Wednesday. “I have no interest in that.”
Golden Boy and Top Rank haven’t worked on a co-promotion fight of significance since 2009, when Top Rank’s Manny Pacquiao defeated Golden Boy’s Ricky Hatton by second-round knockout.
The companies are being brought together for a June title fight between Golden Boy’s Gary Russell Jr. and Top Rank’s Vasyl Lomachenko only by purse bid, and Golden Boy is the primary promoter.
Arum and Schaefer have long battled, Arum resentful of the perceived wedge the former Swiss banker has driven between him and his former star fighter, and Schaefer embittered by Arum’s sometimes hostile business dealings.
“I’ve given Bob several opportunities, and a leopard never changes his spots,” Schaefer said. “With Oscar, it’s sort of like, one day he hates him, the next day he loves him, the next day he rips him, then he loves him again.
“That’s OK, they can play those games. But what I’m doing, I’m running Golden Boy, and I think I’m doing a pretty good job, having built it into the leading boxing promotion company in the world. Last year was an all-time record year, and it did not involve Bob Arum or HBO. I’m proud of what I’m doing and I want to continue doing it.”
The Golden Boy-Top Rank cold war, however, has stopped several attractive bouts from being negotiated, starting with Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr.
De La Hoya said Tuesday he’d like to pursue a Pacquiao-Saul “Canelo” Alvarez mega-bout, and that he anticipates conversations with Arum about making bouts in the near future.
Arum said he was happy to have such discussions, saying the cold-war “baloney” never had anything to do with him and De La Hoya.
“Last I checked, I was CEO,” Schaefer said. “Unless Oscar wants to change that. … I’ve been running Golden Boy since the beginning. If he wants to change that, since he’s the majority shareholder, and decides he wants to fire me, I can’t stop that.”
Despite recent rumors of a possible rift that could force Schaefer out, he said he’s not worried about being fired.
“I’m confident of who I am and what I’ve achieved,” Schaefer said.
De La Hoya said Schaefer is under contract until 2018, and described recent turbulence between the pair as behind them, with everything “peaches and cream” now. Well … “I have no interest in dealing with Bob Arum,” Schaefer said.
Could De La Hoya then tell Schaefer to sit out of the negotiations and let a Golden Boy-Top Rank fight proceed?
“That’s not the way businesses work,” Schaefer said. “You hire someone to run your business, you let them run the business. You don’t tell your CEO to sit this one out. You either have them run your business or you don’t.”
Schaefer said his business model doesn’t include plans to make fights with Top Rank.
“We’ve delivered big fights,” Schaefer said. “Arum is up and down, switch on and off. You saw him ripping MGM [over Mayweather signage in the hotel on Pacquiao fight week earlier this month]. Then he thinks he can come back and say, ‘Hey guys, I want to make a fight here.’ It doesn’t work like that. He rips Mayweather, says people should boycott his [May 3] fight, then says we should sit down and talk about [a Pacquiao] fight. It doesn’t work like that.
“Maybe in his mind it’s OK because it’s about money to be made. But not everything is about money. It’s about relationships. And I value relationships more than I value money.
“There’s opportunities, but it doesn’t work. I turned from that and I’ll never look back.”
As for De La Hoya’s push, Schaefer said, “I’m the CEO. What’s higher, the CEO or the president? He’s the president. It says in my contract I’m the CEO and I run the business.”
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