Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has been named Promoter of The Year by Sports Illustrated, it was announced on Thursday.
"This is obviously an unexpected award, but I'm very appreciative and honored," said Schaefer, whose organization excelled strictly on Showtime after HBO severed ties with Golden Boy in May.
"But I must point out that a single person can't do what Golden Boy Promotions has done in 2013. So I'd like to thank my staff, our fighters, our sponsors and TV partners for their continued support and efforts in 2013. In the end, this is all about the fans of our great sport and I will continue to deliver the best fights and fighters to them in 2014 and beyond."
It was, indeed, a banner year for Golden Boy, whose pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr. served as the main event for two Showtime Pay Per View events.
Mayweather is coming off a unanimous decision that dethroned RING 154-pound champion Canelo Alvarez on Showtime Pay Per View in September and became the highest-grossing boxing event of all time and drew a record $150 million in revenue.
In May of this year, Mayweather unanimously decisioned Robert Guerrero in defense of the WBC 147-pound title he had earned by dethroning Victor Ortiz via fourth-round stoppage in September of 2011, cementing his status as RING welterweight champion as well.
Named Fighter Of The Year by Yahoo!Sports, Mayweather has signed a package with Showtime that could be worth $250 million, according to an online report by Forbes' Magazine, which has contributed to his being the world's highest-paid athlete in any sport over the past two years.
"I am proud that my friend Floyd Mayweather has been voted as the Fighter of the Year by Yahoo," said Schaefer. "Floyd personifies that with hard work and dedication anything is possible. Together, we will continue to break records and elevate the great sport of boxing."
On the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard, RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia scored a unanimous decision over RING No. 1-ranked 140-pounder Lucas Matthysse, whom he floored in the 11th round.
Garcia followed up a unanimous decision victory over Zab Judah, whom he dropped in the eighth round in April. In May, Matthysse scored three knockdowns on the way to a non-title, third-round stoppage of IBF 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson.
A 27-year-old who entered the Gonzalez bout as THE RING's No. 5-rated pound-for-pound fighter, Mares was floored twice by Mexican veteran during the first defense of the belt he won in his 126-pound debut, a ninth-round knockout of Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Ponce de Leon was the last man to defeat Gonzalez in an eighth-round technical decision in September of 2012, that ended Gonzalez's 12-fight winning streak which included 11 knockouts.
In October, Bernard Hopkins brawled his way to a virtual rout of Karo Murat in defense of the IBF light heavyweight belt he won the same way over previously unbeaten Tavoris Cloud in March to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.
In doing so, Hopkins headlined a tripleheader that drew the second largest average audience for a live Showtime boxing event this year, one that ranks as the third-highest average on record for the network since 2004 when Nielsen began tracking pay television networks' individual channels.
On the Hopkins-Murat undercard, heavyweight knockout artist Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder's scored three knockdowns during a fourth-round stoppage of Nicolai Firtha, and WBO middleweight titleholder Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin dropped his man in the second round of a 10th-round technical knockout victory over Gabriel Rosado.
Hopkins-Murat attracted a peak audience of one million viewers, ranking third for the year behind June's split-decision by Adrien "The Problem" Broner (at 1.3 million) that dethroned Paulie Malignaggi as WBA welterweight titleholder, and April's unanimous decision by Alvarez over 154-pound rival Austin Trout (at 1.1 million).
On Dec. 7, Malignaggi unanimously decision Judah, IBF 147-pound beltolder Devon Alexander was dethroned following a unanimous decision loss to unbeaten Shawn Porter, a junior middleweight clash featured Erislandy Lara winning a clash of southpaws by unanimous decision over Austin Trout, and WBC super middleweight beltholder Sakio Bika battled to a draw in his first title defense against unbeaten Anthony Dirrell.
On Dec. 14 on Showtime, Broner was dethroned by Marcos Maidana, who floored him twice during a unanimous decision victory.
Also on the Maidana-Broner card, WBC junior featherweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz unanimously decisioned Cesar Ceda, hard-hitting welterweight standouts Keith Thurman stoppedd Jesus Soto-Karass with a ninth-round technical knockout, and WBA light heavyweight beltholder Beibut Shumenov scored three knockdowns on the way to a third-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Tamas Kovacs.
Maidana-Broner also featured former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor ending a 14-month ring absence by dropping Juan Carlos Candelo with a left to the chin, followed by a right to the temple for a seventh-round technical knockout.
"Even Schaefer's harshest critics will admit: It's been a good year for Golden Boy Promotions. Banished by HBO — a decision based on Golden Boy's steering of many of its high profile fighters to Showtime — Schaefer has been a driving force behind Showtime's transformation into a legitimate competitor to HBO," wrote Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
"With a deep stable at his disposal, Schaefer has put together big fight after big fight, from Saul Alvarez-Austin Trout to Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse to Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana. As Floyd Mayweather's co-promoter, Schaefer was instrumental in the biggest promotion of the year, Mayweather-Alvarez, a fight that generated 2.2 million pay per view buys and became the highest grossing [$150 million] pay-per-view fight of all time. With a young roster — excluding 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins, who will try to become a unified titleholder next year — Golden Boy has a bright future."
Showtime's Stephen Espinoza also praised Schaefer.
"Richard Schaefer has guided Golden Boy and Golden Boy fighters through a phenomenal year in 2013. It wasn't just the top level events such as Canelo-Trout, and, Mayweather-Canelo, but also the younger stars like Garcia, Santa Cruz, Wilder and Thurman," said Espinoza. "They all had breakoout years under Richard Schaefer, who is a savvy businessman with great relationships in other businesses, so, to me, it not a surprise that he was a slam dunk for Promoter of The Year."
Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Tavoris Cloud
Keith Thurman UD 12 Jan Zaveck
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Austin Trout
Danny Garcia UD 12 Zab Judah
Amir Khan UD 12 Julio Diaz
Floyd Mayweather Jr. UD 12 Robert Guerrero
Abner Mares TKO 9 Daniel Ponce de Leon
Lucas Matthysse KO 3 Lamont Peterson
Keith Thurman KO 10 Diego Chaves
Jhonny Gonzalez KO 1 Abner Mares
Leo Santa Cruz KO 3 Victor Terrazas
Floyd Mayweather Jr. MD 12 Canelo Alvarez
Danny Garcia UD 12 Lucas Matthysse
Carlos Molina SD 12 Ishe Smith
Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Karo Murat
Paulie Malignaggi UD 12 Zab Judah
Shawn Porter UD 12 Devon Alexander
Erislandy Lara UD 12 Austin Trout
Sakio Bika D 12 Anthony Dirrell
Marcos Maidana UD 12 Adrien Broner
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]