ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza gathered the media on-hand to cover the Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat card tonight at The Boardwalk Hall for a surprise press conference, announcing a major reconfiguration of their boxing programming in the month of December.
The tandem announced that they would be nixing the November 30 show scheduled for the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Tex., which would’ve featured title defenses by Leo Santa Cruz and Devon Alexander, and adding them to previously scheduled Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 dates.
The Dec. 7 card, scheduled for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will still be headlined by the Zab Judah-Paul Malignaggi “Battle of Brooklyn” fight, but will inherit the Devon Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) IBF welterweight title defense against Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) from the aborted San Antonio card.
Also that night, Austin Trout (26-1, 14 KOs) and Erislandy Lara (18-1-2, 12 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBA World light middleweight title and WBC super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika (32-5-2, 21 KOs) will defend against Anthony Dirrell (26-0, 22 KOs).
The showdown between Adrien Broner (27-0, 22 KOs) and Marcos Maidana (33-3-, 30 KOs) will remain as the headliner for the Dec. 14 card, but will move from Las Vegas to the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The fight will also be moving off of pay-per-view to regular Showtime, and will include WBA light heavyweight titleholder Beibut Shumenov defending against Tamas Kovacs, WBC junior featherweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz defending against Cesar Seda, as well as the return of Victor Ortiz against Alfonso Gomez.
“None of us were completely thrilled with putting that fight on pay-per-view,” said Espinoza. “We really thought that Broner, while he is a star, could benefit from the widest possible exposure still, even at this point. We will see Adrien Broner on pay-per-view in the very near future, that’s a financial reality. But right now, we’re just happy that we could find enough quarters in the couches to put this show back on Showtime.”
Richard Schaefer chimed in that the head of In-Demand Pay-Per-View had approached he and Broner at Barclays Center following Broner’s most recent victory over Paul Malignaggi and suggested that Broner was ready for the pay-per-view circuit, and was said to be disappointed by their decision to move the show to the subscription-based premium network.
“Did I think that the Broner pay-per-view was going to do half a million homes? No. But did I think that the Broner PPV was going to do somewhere in the 200,000, 225,000 range? Absolutely,” said Schaefer.
“The real hesitation on pay-per-view – to the extent that we had hesitation about it – was the time of the year,” added Espinoza. “We ran outside of the calendar, any other time of the year, this show does 250,000-300,000 pay-per-views easy. It’s a massive fight, it’s the best matchup for Broner right now. It was unfortunate scheduling.”
Espinoza said that the Broner-Maidana card will still have “pay-per-view quality” production, with its own All Access show to promote it.
Espinoza pointed to the stacked cards to debunk rumors that Showtime had maxed out its budget for the 2013 year.
“I’m certainly aware of the speculation, the rumors going around about,” said Espinoza. “Two things, one that Showtime was out of money and two, even more strangely, that we had put all our best talent already on the [Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul Alvarez] pay-per-view and we didn’t have anyone meaningful to fight for the rest of the year.
“As aware of those rumors and speculation, and I know what the source of those was, we have a patient scheduling approach. We worked this out with the best case scenario. As you can see, our talent pool is very deep. “
Schaefer also touched on the subject of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, and his plans to rebound from his majority-decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last month. Schaefer said that he would be meeting with Alvarez next week to discuss options for his next fight, which include Miguel Cotto, Alfredo Angulo and IBF junior middleweight titleholder Carlos Molina.
“The fact is that I anticipate within the next few days and weeks that I will be announcing when Canelo Alvarez will be fighting next,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer dismissed suggestions that Golden Boy would be negotiating with arch rival promotion Top Rank to secure the services of Miguel Cotto, who reunited with the Bob Arum-headed promotional organization for his third round knockout victory over Delvin Rodriguez earlier this month.
“No, there’s nobody from Top Rank going to be sitting in on that meeting,” said Schaefer. “If Miguel Cotto wants to fight, no problem. But it will have to be without Top Rank.”
Video / Bill Emes
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.