RingTV.com caught up to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer for an update on the company’s next two months of big fights, culminating with a Dec. 14 Showtime Pay Per View quadrupleheader featuring WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner in a defense against hard-hitting Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Next up is a Dec. 7 tripleheader that will include Brooklyn-born welterweights Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah at Barclays Center. A press conference for the Showtime-televised card is being held on Tuesday at Barclays Center.
“We’re very excited about our end of 2013. It’s a great one-two-three punch for Showtime,” said Schaefer. “Two times on Showtime Championship Boxing, and then, the pay-per-view with what I think is the most dangerous fight in the sport that you can make, which is Adrien Broner against Marcos Maidana.”
A 26-year-old southpaw, Alexander (25-1, 14 knockouts) will make his second defense against Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs).
“Shawn Porter has built up a pretty impressive resume now. If you’re a young fighter, you’re always dreaming about these world title fights and about being in a world championship fight and becoming a world champion,” said Schaefer of Porter, whose unanimous decision over ex-beltholder Julio Diaz last month made up for their draw in December of last year.
“Going in against Devon Alexander, he’ll have that opportunity. Shawn Porter is a very exciting fighter, and you’ve seen that in his last fight with Julio Diaz. I’m interested to see how this is going to turn out. Of course, Devon Alexander is one of the big names in that weight class and in this sport, so he obviously has different plans, and is going to try to school a young Shawn Porter. So we’re going to see if it’s going to be experience or youth.”
A 25-year-old two-division titlewinner, Santa Cruz (25-0-1, 15 KOs) will make his first defense against Cesar Ceda (25-1, 17 KOs), a winner of five straight, including two by stoppage, since falling by unanimous decision to Omar Narvaez in April of 2011.
“You have one of the most exciting guys in the sport in Leo Santa Cruz, who is the biggest volume puncher we have seen. Just a pleasure to watch with his body attacks and his combinations and everything. So I’m very happy that he’s going to be taking his talents to Texas, where they have a large, Hispanic fan base. They know, love and are very passionate about boxing. So I think that for Leo to go there is great for Leo, great for the fans in Texas, and great for the sport,” said Schaefer.
“And to do it in one of those classic Mexico-Puerto Rico showdowns makes it even better as an opener to the Devon Alexander-Shawn Porter fight. There are going to be two world title fights. San Antonio has had one of the biggest years for boxing in recent memory, and to end the year there with two world championships I think is a thank you from Golden Boy to their big fan base. We’re looking forward to bringing many more big fights to San Antonio in the coming year.”
In December, Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KOs) will try to rebound from a split-decision loss in June to Broner, and Judah (42-8, 29 KOs), from a unanimous-decision loss in April to RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
The Judah-Malignaggi card will also boast a junior middleweight clash of southpaws between Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KOs) and Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KOs), who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to former RING champion Canelo Alvarez in April.
“The Bika-Dirrell fight is made, and it looks like it’s going to end up on the Dec. 7 card,” said Schaefer on Monday. “I’m going to be talking, tomorrow, with [advisor] Al [Haymon] and then, hopefully, get it done.”
Finally, Broner (27-0, 22 KOs) will face Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) as part of a card called, “Danger Zone,” said Schaefer. Also part of the Broner-Maidana card is hard-hitting welterweight Keith Thurman (21-0, 19 KOs) against Jesus Soto-Karass, and Mexican junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs) against Jorge Melendez (27-3-1, 26 KOs), who is promoted by Miguel Cotto.
“Top to bottom, I don’t remember a card having so many good fights. They are all evenly-matched fights which have tremendous significance in their respective weight classes,” said Schaefer.
“Imagine if Maidana was to win, that would derail the Broner train in a huge way. At the same time, Broner beating Maidana would clearly be the biggest win of his career, and it would just absolutely add to the fuel that, with Adrien Broner, we have one of the biggest stars, going forward.”
In his last fight in June, Angulo scored knockdowns in the fourth and ninth rounds before being stopped in the 10th by Erislandy Lara.
“Alfredo is coming off of that performance against Lara, I think that is a very, very interesting fight and a must-win night for Angulo,” said Schaefer. “Of course, it’s against a Puerto Rican in Melendez, who will try to spoil the night for Angulo. There are huge implications there as well.”
Returning from an 18-month ring absence to the Broner-Maidana card is former WBC 147-pound beltholder Victor Ortiz, who will make his 154-pound debut against newly-crowned IBF titleholder Carlos Molina.
“Victor is one of the stars of the sport. He’s always exciting, and you never really know what’s going to happen. He has been able to really cross over in a big way in the last 12 months, which have been ‘Victor Goes Hollywood,'” said Schaefer, referring to the fact that Ortiz was cast for a role in the third installment of Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables and has participated in Dancing With The Stars.
“Now he’s devoted himself back to boxing and he wants to end 2013 with a bang,” said Schaefer, “and that bang would be to move up in weight and to challenge for a world title. That definitely shows you what Victor’s all about.”
“I’m happy for Victor, but I’m also happy for Carlos Molina, as well, after winning the title from Ishe Smith. To have the opportunity to go in against one of the big names in the sport, Victor Ortiz, on a pay-per-view card,” said Schaefer. “It’s a very, very intriguing fight…You look at the Victor Ortiz fight, if Ortiz could become a 154-pound champion in one of the hottest divisions, I think that has huge implications on the junior middleweight division.”
Soto-Karass was last in the ring for a 12-round knockout of former two-time 147-pound titleholder Andre Berto. Thurman scored a 10th-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Diego Chaves on the same card.
“You look at Soto-Karass, going in against Keith Thurman, who is just steamrolling everyone, and who is clearly, pound-for-pound, one of the most exciting guys in the sport,” said Schaefer. “We’re going to put him in with a Soto-Karass, and you just know that this is a Fight of The Year candidate. Again, the winner of that fight in that weight class is automatically a force to be dealt with.”
Asked if there would be a reward for the best knockout, as Golden Boy has done for past shows, Schaefer said, “we might.”
“From a matchmaking point of view, and from the point of view of fireworks, action and toe-to-toe battles, these are exciting and significant fights,” said Schaefer. “I can’t remember a card with four significant fights like that.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda; Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]