Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has returned from London, where he attended the Summer Olympic Games to observe and to sign talent from the various countries that participated in the 2012 boxing tournament. Those signees, said Schaefer, would make their professional debuts on CBS on Sunday, Oct. 14, following an afternoon NFL game.
As part of an agreement between Golden Boy, Showtime Sports and CBS Sports, the fighters’ appearances would come a day after a Showtime-televised WBC junior featherweight title bout between beltholder Abner Mares against WBA bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno, a WBO lightweight title bout matching contenders Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere and an appearance by undefeated featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. — all of which are to be part of a planned boxing weekend from The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
“The Golden Boy brand is very strong in the United Kingdom, and we’re looking and we’re going to continue looking in the UK, together with Mexico, as our second home market. We have great fans there and I was very impressed with the atmosphere in the ExCel London Arena,” said Schaefer.
“The British fans really came out to support, not just their team, but they supported boxing in general. As Floyd Mayweather [Jr.] always says, he thinks that the British fans are among the most passionate and I think that showed there at the ExCel Arena. That was really an experience in itself to be there.”
SCHAEFER CHIDES AIBA FOR ‘QUESTIONABLE’ TACTICS
“As much as I had positives to say about the Olympic boxing as I walked away from the ExCel Arena with those memories, there were certainly other things that certainly raised eyebrows,” said Schaefer.
“From the scoring, to AIBA making some of these Olympians pro before the Olympics were over, to AIBA openly promoting their pro boxing and utilizing the Olympic platform — all of that really raises some eyebrows, and it really seems to underline all of the rumors out there that there is something going on there which is not kosher.”
Schaefer questioned the involvement of amateur boxing’s governing body, The Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur (International Boxing Association, or AIBA), with professional boxing. AIBA is forming the AIBA Professional Boxing League in an attempt to pay amateur fighters to compete at a professional level while allowing them to maintain amateur and Olympic eligibility.
“I was surprised after I left the finals that an AIBA representative was there handing out brochures which read, ‘AIBA Pro Boxing, We Are Pro Boxing,’ in beautiful colored brochures,” said Schaefer.
“Those brochures basically explained why the Olympians should fight for AIBA and what the AIBA value proposition is. Now, how any promoter is allowed to hand out these brochures for pro boxing during the Olympics is certainly something which raises some eyebrows. So it’s unfortunate.”
Among those expected to be a part of the AIBA professional roster is Ukrainian lightweight star, Vasyl Lomachenko, who captured his second straight gold medal by dominating South Korea’s Han Soon-chul, 19-9.
Lomachenko’s father, Anatoly Lomachenko, has denied having signed with AIBA.
“I think that it was questionable that AIBA, the governing body for the Olympics, announced two days before Vasyl Lomachenko fought for the gold medal that he will be turning pro with AIBA,” said Schaefer of Lomachenko, who is his country’s first two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer and is considered the unofficial pound-for-pound king of amateur boxing.
“That, I felt was a bit interesting, because, usually, when a fighter signs a pro contract in boxing, it automatically eliminates him and eliminates his eligibility as an amateur to fight in the Olympics. Why AIBA was allowed to do that, I don’t understand. If I was to be a member of the Olympics supervising committee or the supervising department, I would keep an eye on that.”
SCHAEFER MISSED ROBERT GUERRERO’S ‘TERRIFIC PERFORMANCE’ AGAINST SELCUK AYDIN
While in London, however, Schaefer could not be on hand on July 28 at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., when southpaw Robert Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 knockouts) secured his 14th consecutive victory by unanimous decision over hammer-fisted, Turkish-born Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany.
A former two-time featherweight titleholder who also held a major belt at 130 pounds and two interim crowns at lightweight, Guerrero, 29, rose two weight classes to defeat Aydin in his welterweight debut.
“Obviously, in my absence, Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero turned in a terrific performance. I think that as a welterweight, as a 147-pounder, he showed that he can hang and that he can perform and that he can execute his gameplan,” said Schaefer.
“I think that he fought a very determined and a very strong Selcuk Aydin. I feel that Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero showed what he is all about as a terrific and talented fighter that he is, and I believe that he is willing and ready and able to perform against anyone at 147.”
Guerrero was coming off a unanimous decision victory over Michael Katsidis for the WBO and WBA’s interim lightweight belts in April of last year. Guerrero last suffered defeat by a split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005, but won their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
In September, Guerrero had arthroscopic surgery which repaired a torn tendon in the rotator cuff of his shoulder, forcing him to cancel an August bout with junior welterweight Marcos Maidana.
In defeating Aydin, Guerrero earned his sixth weight class, having started out as a junior featherweight. In victory over Aydin, Guerrero would place himself in an elite class of multi-belt, multi-division titlewinners such as Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya.
Guerrero became the WBC’s interim titleholder in his welterweight debut as well as the mandatory challenger to Mayweather, the WBC’s titleholder.
“Obviously, the dream fight for him is a fight against Floyd Mayweather, and so, we’ll see in the coming weeks annd months what’s going to happen there,” said Schaefer.
“But I have to say that I’m very proud of the performance that Robert turned in. I know that there are bigger and better things ahead for Robert, and now, we’ll work hard to get Robert these opportunities that he deserves.”
FOURTH FIGHT IN THE WORKS FOR SEPT. 15 SAUL ALVAREZ-JOSESITO LOPEZ CARD
Schaefer said that he is working to secure a fourth and final bout for the undercard of a Showtime-televised, Sept. 15 main event featuring WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) opposite Josesito Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs) from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The event already matches rock-fisted Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs) against welterweight rival Jesus Soto Karass (26-7-3, 17 KOs), as well as WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs) pursuing his 13th straight win and his 12th knockout during that run in his fifth defense against former 122-pound titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon (43-4, 35 KOs).
“We’re looking at a fourth televised Showtime fight, which we are working on that will be announced within the coming week. We’re pretty close to getting it announced,” said Schaefer.
“So it will be a quadruple header and be a lead-in fight on fight on Showtime Extreme as well, so it’s going to be a huge weekend on Showtime from Las Vegas.”
Schaefer confirmed that the Oct. 20 card is nearly set for the Showtime-televised grand opening of The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where WBA welterweight beltwinner and Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi (31-4, 7 KOs) will make the first defense of his belt against Pablo Cesar Cano (25-1-1, 19 KOs) on the undercard of rematch between RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs) and four-division titlewinner Erik Morales (52-8, 36 KOs).
Also being considered for the card, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, were middleweight contenders Peter Quillin (27-0, 20 KOs) and Danny Jacobs (22-1, 19 KOs), of Brooklyn, another Brooklyn resident in welterweight Dmitriy Salita (34-1-1, 18 KOs), and Bronx-born Honduran junior welterweight Eddie Gomez (9-0, 6 KOs).
“This will be televised live on Showtime as a triple-header on Showtime and a double-header on Showtime Extreme,” said Schaefer. “We’re potentially discussing another platform, so that it will become an all-afternoon, all-evening celebration of Brooklyn and boxing in Brooklyn.”
Garcia, of Philadelphia, floored Morales in the 11th round of a unanimous decision that dethroned Morales as WBC beltholder in March, and is coming off last month’s fourth-round knockout of Amir Khan.
An American who is of Puerto Rican decent, Garcia will be after his fourth straight triumph over a current or former world titleholder against Morales, following consecutive decisions over ex-beltholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October of last year, respectively.
“We have Danny Garcia and Erik Morales confirmed, and we also have confirmed Paulie Malignaggi and Pablo Cesar Cano,” said Schaefer. “We have two world title fights. We are currently in the process of finalizing Peter Quillin’s fight, and I will know more about that in the next few days.”
Schaefer said that he has reserved Houston’s Toyota Center for Nov. 17.
“I will be announcing a card there pretty soon,” said Schaefer. “I’m working on some surprises there.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Hutty, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]