Schaefer split from De La Hoya will make Arum and Top Rank stronger

By Rich Mancuso

It was coming but was a matter of time. Richard Schaefer has parted ways with Oscar De La Hoya as the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions and that can only put Top Rank and promoter Bob Arum in better position. This does not mean that we are any closer to a Floyd Mayweather Jr. clash with Manny Pacquiao but makes potential good fights more possible.

The prevailing attitude is that Schaefer will end up in a California court battle with De La Hoya, leaving many Golden Boy fighters in a predicament. Because Schaefer secured a good amount of the Golden Boy roster, part of his responsibilities, he is in position to take them away from De La Hoya if he ventures into promoting with his potential business partner, Mayweather.

We will leave that legal issue for the court to decide. In the meantime, De La Hoya, a former Top Rank fighter saw that his loyalty was with Arum, the promoter, who propelled the former champion to stardom with millions at the box office and from pay-per-view revenue.

Also, this split changes the complexion of boxing, more so on the promotional end. Because now fans may be able to have the fights they want, something that was on the agenda for De La Hoya when he met with Arum last month in Los Angeles at Arum’s residence.

How about Arum’s fighter, featherweight champion Nonito Donaire, now in position to get a long awaited fight with Abner Mares, assuming they can agree on the proper weight before signing a contract? That is just one of many potential possibilities with this split.

Though Schaefer, who aligned with De La Hoya 12-years ago has a vested interest with many on the Golden Boy roster, there is no telling where this will go. We do know, Schaefer, was instrumental in securing major television deals for Golden Boy including the lucrative contract with Showtime and making Mayweather the richest professional athlete of any sport.

Schaefer also was instrumental in putting together the top pay-per-view fight that may never be topped, the Mayweather-De La Hoya bout of 2007 that did over 2.5 million buys, a record revenue for PPV. And he secured an exclusive deal with the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn New York that has almost put Madison Square Garden out of the boxing business.

And there was the Schaefer deal with Fox Sports, providing boxing fans with a fight card almost on a weekly basis and the move to Showtime caused HBO to see an influx of talent go to the rival network.

However, in the end, Schaefer made some enemies along the way. His major adversary was Arum and in the end that caused more friction with De La Hoya. Many, and according to sources, have said, that one of the reasons De La Hoya had a few stints in rehab was because of the Schaefer feud with Arum, that put him on the brink. It is easy to understand that De La Hoya wanted the best for boxing fans and was being loyal to a friend and former associate Bob Arum.

The source also said, De La Hoya was more incensed with comments from Schaefer that were directed to Arum, many times in public and before the boxing media. And here the quote that yours truly has heard more than one time:

“Bob Arum is a disrespectful old man.”

That comment though, only made Arum more resilient. And for an 83-year old legendary promoter, the war of words to him were easy to take when comparing the battles Arum had years ago with Hall of Fame promoter Don King. The words only made Arum stronger and De La Hoya sought to do the right thing.

It is called loyalty, something not commonly known in the sport.

True, Schaefer made an impact in his time with De La Hoya and Golden Boy. Boxing, a sport that can never get the ship right, also thrives on controversy.  So add this split, as had been rumored for months, as one that will go down as huge news and pretty much historic when it comes to moving ahead and the potential mega fights that can be made.

And this does not immediately allow Arum and De La Hoya to co-promote and do business immediately, but the so –called “Cold War” with promoters for the moment has seen a truce, that is, unless, Schaefer goes into a rapid mode with his friend and Mayweather business associate, Al Haymon.

Golden Boy had a successful 2013 and propelled to the top promotional company in the business, and much of that was attributed to Schaefer. However, the communication with De La Hoya and Arum intensified and hence the friction started as Golden Boy and Top Rank continued to compete.

In what became an added war of words at Schaefer, Arum, also a known adversary of Mayweather, cited that there were promotional posters of the undefeated champion that dominated the MGM Grand Hotel and on their marquee for the May fight with Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, a fight co-promoted by Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions.

 In April, Arum was at the same venue for a final press conference and made it known that the MGM had minimal or nothing evident of a Pacquiao-Tim Bradley title rematch getting exposure. The message from Arum, in this “cold-war” of words with promoters, was Schaefer working to destroy Arum and Top Rank’s continued success at promoting Pacquiao fights at the MGM.

Sources say, that got De La Hoya more incensed with the Schaefer-Mayweather alliance. De La Hoya, said the source, reached out to Arum and offered an apology, another matter that further divided Schaefer and De La Hoya.

Arum was quoted to say that Schaefer “is a bad person,” and “can-not be good for boxing.” He used a comparison to his wars with Don King. He said that was competition being done the hard way and that when he reviews those years, “King was good for boxing.”

He was further quoted "Schaefer, I can't say that. Schaefer was mean-spirited and brought an attitude to the sport I wasn't familiar with or party to. Sure, promoters would fight each other, but three months later, the fight would be over and we'd be buddies for the next six months. He wasn't that guy. He was bad for the business, in my opinion."

Though to boxing fans, Schaefer was the good guy. They are the new breed of fans who were not around when boxing was “The King” of sports and did not have to rely on one fighter, that being Mayweather to gather momentum. Maywether, a former Arum promoted fighter has the proper ally with Schaefer.

The business will only benefit in the long run. There is room for three main promotions, if and when Schaefer and Mayweather get all the legal issues put to rest, more so as it pertains to what fighters are under the Golden Boy banner and those that Schaefer claims are his. Again, that will be for the legal teams and court to decide.

In the meantime, Bob Arum got stronger and we saw the human side of loyalty with Oscar De La Hoya. Boxing will survive as it always does with or without Richard Schaefer and De La Hoya in the same executive board room.

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