Promoter Gary Shaw, who is essentially Showtime's in-house card-maker, is coming under fire from both former charge Jeff Lacy and current rising star Nonito Donaire.
Shaw, probably best known for his long association with the late Diego Corrales, was criticized heavily by Donaire in a recent interview for his handling of Donaire's fight on Saturday. Donaire is taking Shaw to task over not knowing who he'd be fighting (he claims he only knew one month ahead of time), missing travel funds, and Donaire's family not being seated ringside, while challenger Luis Maldonado's was.
Some fans are speculating that Shaw isn't exactly happy with Donaire's pummeling of Vic Darchinyan, but I find that to be a little suspect. Shaw promotes both men -- having two stars under your roof is not a bad thing, especially with the Filipino market being at an all-time high.
That said, Donaire specifically commented that he feels Shaw "is against us and we will have to sit down with them and put the team together in order for us to really work things out. He wants what he wants but sometimes for me, I gotta do what I gotta do. I don't pick who I fight, I let people that work with me do that. All I know is I am a fighter and I have to do what I have to do. I've got to train, thats all that I have in my head. And I came to the Philippines because I needed that training and he was up against that."
Those are big words. That really indicates a potential rift.
And it's not like it would be the first time in Shaw's history -- recent history, even -- that he had a nasty potential split on his hands. Manny Pacquiao left Shaw for Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions, and it was not a clean break. Jeff Lacy was promoted by Shaw for much of his career, and he now says that he won't fight Tarver if "The Magic Man" is promoted by Shaw.
Said Lacy, "Why would I do anything that made Gary Shaw any money?"
The Tarver-Lacy matchup hinges on Lacy getting past Peter Manfredo, Jr., on Saturday night's Mayweather-Hatton undercard. It's Lacy's first fight in a year after he was injured in a controversial, tough win over Vitali Tsypko.
It's also a natural rivalry that has been brooding for some time. Both men hail from the Tampa area, and neither has the greatest respect for the other. The back-and-forth sniping between the two has been going on for years. Even considering my distaste for Tarver, a fight between two guys that dislike each other as much as Tarver and Lacy do almost has to be entertaining. It'd be a shame if all that really stood in the way was Gary Shaw.
Shaw said there's already a contract drawn up and delivered for April 12. Lacy has denied this.
What does this all mean for Shaw? Well, if he loses Donaire, his camp dwindles further. He would lose Nonito to either Top Rank or Golden Boy, probably, the two firms that are slowly but surely completely taking over big-time fighting in the States. If he can't make Tarver-Lacy, what the hell is he going to do with Tarver? The 39-year old ex-champion has already seen his momentum slow to a crawl with two unimpressive wins over Elvir Muriqi and Danny Santiago this year.
Personally, I can't say as though I was ever really buying that Tarver-Lacy was going to happen. The Donaire situation is more serious. We're talking about a rising young star who stands to be worth serious, serious money in his home country. His two performances this year are already making him a fan favorite, as well as a Showtime favorite. To lose Donaire while he's still on the rise would be a shot in the gut for Gary Shaw Productions, no doubt about it.
But, all in all, boxing is filled with scumbag promoters and the like. Gary Shaw is hardly at the top of the list, though since he's one of the most important and influential, these things are newsworthy.