Wladimir Klitschko could come back to the U.S. in 2012, but it won't be at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
The folks who are putting the finishing touches on the soon-to-be opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn were hoping to book a world heavyweight title fight for October between Wladimir Klitschko and Chris Arreola, but as has been known for some time now, Golden Boy Promotions has an exclusive deal with the venue, and is looking to book "seasonal" tickets from a regular show called "Brooklyn Boxing."
In response to the idea that Golden Boy's deal with Barclays stands in the way of the fight, Richard Schaefer told The RING that it's about fight fans, which is...well:
"This is about really creating an opening night in Brooklyn which will be used to promote season ticket sales for the Brooklyn Boxing programs, and we have come up with big plans there. The facts are that Oct. 20 is not a Klitschko date, it's not a Golden Boy date, it's not a Barlclay date. It's a date for the fight fans of Brooklyn," said Schaefer.
Barclays wanted to do Klitschko vs Arreola on October 20, but Golden Boy is booked. To say "it's not a Golden Boy date" is cute, and I know what he means, but they will not book a bigger fight in Brooklyn than Klitschko vs Arreola would be, so how would that really be for the benefit of fight fans? New York has heavy taxes for fighters. Like it or not, unless that changes, this is not going to be a place for truly marquee fights.
Michael Woods at ESPN NY said pretty much the same thing I was thinking:
"I know this is heresy to a businessman, but wouldn't it be a sweet gesture if Golden Boy gave Team Klitschko a pass and gave the OK to put a Wlad fight on at Barclays? Hey, I sort of get the Golden Boy angle, when I put on my Warren Buffet mask. You don't want to flood the market with boxing, other people's product, and thus threaten some of your own future gate. But possibly, maybe, wouldn't it help the sport as a whole, the brand of boxing, to get a hot heavyweight fight in Brooklyn, with so many Russians so close to the building?"
I do get it, and I also understand that K2 Promotions isn't looking to co-promote with GBP, because they have no reason to co-promote with anyone if they don't have to. Arreola is a Goossen Tutor fighter, not a Golden Boy fighter.
Wladimir does appear to want to return to the U.S. this year if possible, and Arreola would be the right opponent for that, I think. Maybe put it out on the west coast. Wladimir (56-3, 49 KO) has not fought in the States since his 2008 stinker against Sultan Ibragimov at MSG, a fight so bad that Ibragimov left now and never came back, and while it probably hasn't really cost him much, it would just be nice to have the champ come back to the States again. I don't expect him to fight here all the time, but once every four years would be nice, no?
Klitschko is in action this Saturday, facing overmatched and rather pitiful opponent Jean Marc Mormeck. That fight will air on Epix in the U.S., RTL in Germany, and Sky Sports in the U.K.