There is trouble in the Golden Boy Promotions paradise. It seems that Oscar De La Hoya, whose nickname is the trademark of the company, has a difference of opinion with Richard Schaefer, the CEO of the company, over the future direction of the business.
De La Hoya said he is in favor of working with Bob Arum of Top Rank to make fights in the future, while Schaefer has vowed that he won’t work with Arum, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
“If anyone with Golden Boy has any differences with Bob, it’s on them,’’ De La Hoya said. “I have nothing against Bob and I feel making fights with Bob is beneficial to the fans and the market.”
Schaefer, who runs the day-to-day operation for Golden Boy, has a problem with Arum.
“Well, I guess it’s on me,” Schaefer told The Times on Wednesday. “I have no interest in that.”
This is shaping up as a conflict that could roil the waters of the boxing industry.
De La Hoya hired Schaefer, whose background is in Swiss banking, to make Golden Boy into a profitable company and build it into a boxing promotion powerhouse. Schaefer has done that by aligning himself with one of the most powerful men in boxing, Al Haymon, who represents several prominent champions, including Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Showtime.
Arum has bristled at Schaefer and Haymon’s increasing influence in the sport. Their personal differences has resulted in a Cold War between the two largest boxing promotion companies in the U.S., and has stood in the way of several major boxing matches from being consummated.
There hasn’t been a major boxing co-promotion between the two companies since Ricky Hatton, who was represented by Golden Boy, fought Manny Pacquiao, who was represented by Top Rank, in 2009. Pacquiao knocked out Hatton in the second round of the fight.
The two companies are being forced to work together on a smaller promotion now after a match between Gary Russell and Vasyl Lomachenko went to purse bid. Golden Boy, which represents Russell, won the purse bid and will be the lead promoter for the fight.
De La Hoya was once promoted by Arum before he sued to get out of his contract. After he won his release, De La Hoya formed Golden Boy Promotions and began promoting himself and hired Schaefer to run the company. One of the first big promotions that De La Hoya did on his own was his match against Mayweather, which was one of the highest grossing boxing matches ever, garnering over $150 million in revenue and generating 2.5 million Pay Per View buys.
Even though Arum has routinely lashed out at De La Hoya and Schaefer, he told the L.A. Times that he would be willing to sit down and speak with De La Hoya about making a mega match between Pacquiao and Saul “Canelo’’ Alvarez.
But Schaefer said De La Hoya hired him to negotiate all the big deals for the company.
“Last I checked, I was CEO,” Schaefer said. “Unless Oscar wants to change that…I’ve been running Golden Boy since the beginning. If he wants to change that, since he’s the majority shareholder, and decides he wants to fire me, I can’t stop that.”
There have been rumblings that if De La Hoya were to fire Schaefer that he would join with Mayweather and Haymon and do for Mayweather Promotions what he has done for Golden Boy Promotions. There are several boxers who are represented by Haymon now fighting under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, but may not have contracts with the company.
It is an intriguing dust up that could have major implications in the boxing industry. With so much at stake, it is a simmering situation that could boil over soon. And it comes just a week away from Mayweather’s big Pay Per View boxing extravaganza against Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas on May 3.
Schaefer said he isn’t worried about being fired by De La Hoya anytime soon, even though he has no desire to work with Arum again in the future. His contract runs through 2018. He said he and De La Hoya aren’t feuding over Arum. But he’s resolute that he will never work with Arum again.
“There’s opportunities,’’ Schaefer said of past dealings with Arum. “But it doesn’t work. I turned from that and I’ll never look back.”