Promoters’ silent treatment bad for boxing
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The two most powerful promoters in boxing haven’t spoken personally to each other since January.
Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum (right) was angered that Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Richard Schaefer (left) allowed implications to continue that Arum’s prized fighter Manny Pacquiao had possibly used performance-enhancing drugs in the past. The implications originated from the camp of Floyd Mayweather Jr., whom Schaefer has previously assisted in fight negotiations.
Just after the first of two failed negotiations to make a Mayweather-Pacquiao super-fight collapsed in January, Arum said his final conversation with Schaefer revolved around a pitch to make a third Pacquiao fight against Schaefer’s Juan Manuel Marquez.
‘Schaefer told me he wanted a 50-50 split of the purse, and that Manny had to go through random drug testing,’ Arum said. ‘There was no way.’
Schaefer, who was lamenting his split with Arum after a news conference Tuesday and cracked, ‘Bring down this wall, Bob,’ said his original suggestion of terms for a Pacquiao-Marquez bout was just a starting point, nothing intended to offend. ‘That’s called negotiation, that’s the business,’ Schaefer said. ‘Make me another offer.’
Both men suggested they’re willing to make fights pitting boxers from their opposing stables, but the fact is that hasn’t happened since January, and there’s nothing on the future schedule of main events co-promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy.
‘We’ve extended not just a few branches, but olive trees, I’m just not going to [do it] anymore,’ Schaefer said. ‘After awhile, you say, ‘Let this guy be miserable,’ and life goes on. I don’t lose a minute of sleep over it.’
Arum said Wednesday, ‘It’s not the end of the world that I won’t talk to him.’
Arum said Schaefer owes Pacquiao ‘a sincere apology,’ but Schaefer, whose company retains a small percentage of rights to Pacquiao’s purses, counters, ‘I never said [Pacuiao] is using performance-enhancing drugs.’ Pacquiao filed a pending defamation lawsuit against Mayweather and Schaefer’s business partner, Oscar De La Hoya, for the alleged drug-use implications.
This strain has happened before, weakening the sport before a mediator repaired a 2007 Top Rank-Golden Boy dispute over Pacquiao’s rights and bridged a co-promoted Pacquiao bout against Golden Boy’s Marco Antonio Barrera.
Now, there’s been an uproar, including one post-fight vent last month by HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman, to stop the in-house promotions like last Saturday’s Marquez-Juan Diaz Golden Boy show, a Sept. 18 Golden Boy card headlined by Shane Mosley and Sergio Mora, or plans for the Top Rank Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito card on Nov. 13.
Arum insists, ‘Nobody is saying we won’t do business with them,’ contending Top Rank executives Todd duBoef or Carl Moretti could capably handle co-promotion talks with Schaefer. Arum dared a questioner to ‘give me one fight’ boxing has been deprived because of the absence of dialogue between the promotional heads.
How about Pacquiao-Marquez III, or a later Miguel Cotto-Mosley II? And how much did it hurt attempts to stage Mayweather-Pacquiao that Arum and Schaefer aren’t on speaking terms?
Yet, Arum dismissed Marquez as an immediate opponent and said Mosley ‘was sort of pathetic’ in a May loss to Mayweather.
‘If I have to do a fight with them, I will,’ Schaefer said. ‘I won’t let childish behavior hurt the sport. I’m the CEO of this company, though. I make the deals. Top Rank can have anyone they want -- Todd or their secretary -- but they have to talk to me.’
Photo credits: Annie Wells / L.A. Times and Kevork Djansezian / AP