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Hopkins Deal Not Set Just Yet

Times Staff Writer

Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer, head of De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, were unable Monday to finalize an agreement to become Bernard Hopkins’ promoters. A news conference to announce the deal had been scheduled for today but was postponed as negotiations with the undisputed middleweight champion continued.

There are no plans for Hopkins, who defeated De La Hoya in September, to fight him again. Any agreement involving Hopkins and Golden Boy would be purely a promotional contract.

Schaefer said he had felt negotiations were far enough along to schedule today’s news conference. But on Saturday, Schaefer received a letter from Arnold Joseph, an attorney representing Hopkins, informing him that it was premature to make a public announcement.

Complicating the situation is the presence of rival promoter Bob Arum, who promoted the Hopkins-De La Hoya fight and has already done some legwork for a possible future Hopkins match. Arum said he had signed a deal with Howard Eastman, ranked No. 2 among middleweights by the World Boxing Council and has had preliminary financial talks with HBO about a Hopkins-Eastman fight early next year.

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Arum stressed that he did not have a signed agreement with Hopkins and had not heard from him since reporting back to Hopkins on the talks with HBO.

Arum also said he had not been informed by Schaefer that Hopkins might sign with Golden Boy.

While Arum has been De La Hoya’s promoter except for a brief and bitter break several years ago, their companies -- Arum’s Top Rank and De La Hoya’s Golden Boy -- have become increasingly competitive as Golden Boy has grown.

When Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera face each other for the third time on Nov. 27, Morales will be promoted by Top Rank, Barrera by Golden Boy.

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Now the two sides seem poised to fight over Hopkins.

Further clouding things, Arum may be asked to testify on Hopkins’ behalf in his upcoming lawsuit against promoter Don King over promotional rights.


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