The rumored tension at Golden Boy Promotions no longer seems to be just a rumor. While many have cited sources over the last month or so who purport to confirm the issues between President Oscar De La Hoya and CEO Richard Schaefer, the two parties themselves have not said much about it, other than denying there are issues, and occasionally seeming to reveal that maybe, in fact, there are, when reading between the lines.
But a Los Angeles Times report from a few days ago quotes Schaefer directly, and while he doesn't say he has a problem with Oscar, he is firm on one thing. Richard Schaefer has no interest in working with Bob Arum or Top Rank, while De La Hoya, for the moment, has said that he would like to make fights with his former promoter.
Golden Boy and Top Rank have been arch rivals for years, with short periods of peace between the parties. Schaefer says that he no longer trusts working with Arum, while De La Hoya recently has said he'd like to do so again.
From the LA Times article:
"I've given Bob several opportunities, and a leopard never changes his spots. With Oscar, it's sort of like, one day he hates him, the next day he loves him, the next day he rips him, then he loves him again.
"That's OK, they can play those games. But what I'm doing, I'm running Golden Boy, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job, having built it into the leading boxing promotion company in the world. Last year was an all-time record year, and it did not involve Bob Arum or HBO. I'm proud of what I'm doing and I want to continue doing it."
Schaefer's reluctance to work with Arum is probably understandable. The relationship didn't go sour for no reason on the times that they've tried before. Arum and Schaefer have repeatedly insulted one another over the years. There is, it would appear, a true lack of trust on both sides.
Arum may see De La Hoya as easier to work with, given their lengthy history together. They've also traded some harsh words over the years, but they do seem to get along now and then, as Schaefer notes, and Arum and De La Hoya obviously made a lot of money with one another for a very long time. There has to be some sort of nostalgic feeling on both sides, which Schaefer does not have for Arum, and vice versa.
Arum had this to say recently:
"I've always had a good relationship with Oscar except when other people interfered," Arum said. "Oscar and I got along famously and I think we will continue to in the future.
"Remember, we had a long and successful, very profitable relationship. It was a very happy time in both of our lives. To revisit that and to renew the relationship is something I look forward to."
The idea right now is that the shareholders will side with De La Hoya if it comes to it, but that Al Haymon may choose to go with Schaefer if there is some sort of split. Given what we've heard in the past about Haymon's fighters not usually having actual promotional contracts with Golden Boy or anyone else, that could mean that Schaefer and Haymon could form a new company, which it would seem likely would stay with Showtime, while De La Hoya and the remaining Golden Boy fighters might wind up with HBO, sharing time with Top Rank.
Of the current Golden Boy roster, Haymon represents, among others, Devon Alexander, Alfredo Angulo, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Luis Collazo, Jermall and Jermell Charlo, Omar Figueroa, Danny Garcia, Robert Guerrero, Daniel Jacobs, Amir Khan, Erislandy Lara, Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont and Anthony Peterson, Peter Quillin, Gary Russell Jr, Leo Santa Cruz, Keith Thurman, and Deontay Wilder.
In other words, a situation where Haymon and Schaefer were to take the Haymon fighters either to a new company, or, perhaps, to Mayweather Promotions, wouldn't just be a splitting of the roster, it would be a complete gutting. If it went down that way, the shell of Golden Boy Promotions would look no stronger than what the sport's other second-level promoters have to work with.
Oscar's biggest chip would be Canelo Alvarez, who has been mentioned recently as a possible Manny Pacquiao opponent.
Many made note last night, during the Showtime fights, that when De La Hoya arrived to the fights, he sat two seats away from Schaefer, but the two didn't exchange pleasantries, and even seemed to be deliberately avoiding making eye contact with one another. I likened it in the moment to a divorced couple trying to avoid speaking to one another at their child's Little League game.
When fights ended, it was Schaefer in the ring with the victorious fighters, not Oscar. Those victorious fighters this evening were Omar Figueroa, Lucas Matthysse, and Keith Thurman, all Haymon fighters. Oscar, really, has only been seen recently with Canelo Alvarez.
Does it mean anything? Yeah, it pretty obviously does. But what exactly does it mean? That remains to be seen. If the general idea of the lines being drawn within the faction is correct, De La Hoya might not come out well in any possible split.
But for now, Schaefer remains the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, and business is going on as normal, relatively speaking, heading into the Mayweather-Maidana event this coming Saturday. And as Schaefer has said, Oscar's mind changes pretty frequently on these matters.
Is Oscar better off not rocking the boat more than it has been already? Do you think Schaefer would make the bold move and split off if he's forced out? Or will this all go away and be nothing more than a short-term concern?