Richard Schaefer says he won't block other promoters from running shows at Barclays in Brooklyn, but he won't give up his October 20 date, either. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
In an interview with Mitch Abramson at BoxingScene.com, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer says that despite an exclusive contract with the new Barclays Center opening this year in Brooklyn, he's not looking to keep the venue from promoting boxing shows without him, including a potential Klitschko fight, which has recently been in the news as Barclays apparently wanted Wladimir vs Chris Arreola for October 20, which is set to be Golden Boy's debut at the venue.
Schaefer's stance is that the Klitschkos can promote there all they want, but he's firmly set on keeping the October 20 date, as they've invested in that and are making an event of it:
"I don’t care. They can go. I don’t need to be involved. They can do a fight there and do a deal with the Barclays Center. I couldn’t care less but not for the opening weekend."
Schaefer further says that any promoter, including rival Top Rank, is free to promote if the venue feels it's right for them:
"If [Brett feels] strongly that there is a fight which fits perfectly with them and it’s great for Brooklyn, I am not going to say, ‘Well, I need to be involved. I need to have my banner up there’ and bull [stuff] like that," Schaefer quipped. "I’m not going to do that if Lou DiBella or Gary [Shaw] or Top Rank is going to want to do a fight in Brooklyn, and it’s a fight that Brett and his team feel is good for the venue. Hey, go ahead and do it. I’m not an ego-maniac like that. No problem."
Schaefer may still protect certain dates that he has big plans for, and he has the right to do that. He didn't force Barclays to give Golden Boy their contract, which frankly is a bad idea, and I don't mean that as a dig at GBP, either. I don't think anyone having exclusive deals like that is helpful.
Of course, Richard has been at the other end of a situation like this before. Last July, when details were being finalized for the Hopkins vs Dawson fight in October, Main Events stepped in and enforced their agreement with the Prudential Center in Newark, and forced the fight to Los Angeles, where it did not belong. I admit I found it funny that the big guy was being bullied by the little guy in a sense, but I don't find exclusive deals -- with a venue, with a network, with anyone -- to be particularly helpful. Given that much freedom to be mediocre, boxing promoters will generally deliver mediocrity.
But if it's sincere, and I've no reason to think it isn't, really, then I think it's a fair olive branch from Golden Boy to the Klitschkos and other promoters. Barclays gave them the deal, but it does not appear they're intent on standing in front of the building shouting, "Mine! Mine!" every time another promoter has an idea for a brand new, state of the art facility that should be in play for everyone. Boxing has struggled in New York in recent years, and a new venue could be a good shot in the arm for everyone.