Far more interesting than Saturday night's series of wild mismatches on Showtime was some behind-the-scenes talk, as ESPN.com's Dan Rafael had a series of tweets about Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza and Golden Boy Promotions owner Oscar De La Hoya, with Espinoza reportedly upset with De La Hoya for skipping town on the triple-header at the Barclays Center.
According to @StephenEspinoza, @OscarDeLaHoya is not here, he left town at 4 pm Saturday. Steve was pretty ticked off. #boxing— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) August 10, 2014
More from Espinoza on Oscar leaving town: "He didn't do anything for this card and I'm writing a check to Golden Boy." #boxing— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) August 10, 2014
And despite some early and in my opinion quite naïve ideas that De La Hoya had turned his nose up at (his own) card because it was a bunch of lousy fights, De La Hoya himself tweeted this out later in the evening:
congratulations to my Goldenboy team for putting together a great show. As always You shine in Your work. You are GoldenBoy.— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) August 10, 2014
So did De La Hoya suddenly grow a conscience and decide that he couldn't be associated with such crappy fights? That's doubtful. Not impossible, but doubtful. His company still made money on these fights, and they were the promoter of these fights. This is a card that was put together under De La Hoya's watch, not Richard Schaefer's.
One thing that Garcia, Lamont Peterson, and Daniel Jacobs all have in common, however, is connection to powerful adviser Al Haymon. It has been suspected for a while now that Haymon may be running out the clock on some of the guys he has at Golden Boy, in order to potentially take them elsewhere -- be it Mayweather Promotions, or some other, new firm led by Richard Schaefer, possibly.
All of that is just rumor and talk for now, but De La Hoya was reportedly in Brooklyn to meet with Barclays Center people about potentially hosting the November fight between Bernard Hopkins (a Golden Boy, non-Haymon fighter) and Sergey Kovalev, which will air on HBO, the first HBO main event featuring a Golden Boy fighter since spring 2013, when HBO publicly announced they would not be doing business with Golden Boy or Al Haymon.
With the shakeup at GBP earlier this year, which saw Richard Schaefer resign from his role as CEO, and then some Schaefer disciples following him out the door, everything is changing again. De La Hoya is open to making fights with Top Rank and other promoters, and open to featuring his fighters on HBO.
That said, we're still not seeing Al Haymon's guys on HBO, and that's the real sticking point in this whole "Cold War" business. While De La Hoya may soon be able to declare boxing's "Cold War" dead, it will only be the specific Golden Boy-Top Rank Cold War that goes down the tubes. Haymon still isn't working with Top Rank, and Haymon, not Golden Boy, has the real juice with most of the top fighters associated with GBP, such as Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs, Paulie Malignaggi, Leo Santa Cruz, and several more.
As we've mentioned before, the only key guys who are with Golden Boy but not with Haymon are Hopkins, Canelo Alvarez, and Abner Mares.
Maybe this is a misunderstanding and will blow over, but generally speaking, where there's smoke, there's fire. And there's a lot of smoke behind Stephen Espinoza calling Oscar De La Hoya "chicken shit," and pointing out that the promoter wouldn't bother to promote, despite being paid as the promoter. It's not exactly a nuke, but it's a couple of grenades thrown De La Hoya's way, at the least.
If this is going to further develop, it probably won't be long. Or maybe it'll be drawn out and take forever, but most people in and around the sport still expect there to be an enormous shift at Golden Boy Promotions sooner than later, because of Haymon having the greater control over so many of their fighters. The current "Cold War" is ending, but the real one is still coming.
Rafael added this from Golden Boy's Eric Gomez:
Golden Boy VP @makeawar said that @OscarDeLaHoya left town in an emergency because a family member is gravely ill and dying. #boxing— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) August 10, 2014