The Twitterverse was abuzz as De la Hoya and Schaefer tried their best not to acknowledge each other (and by the way, it provided for some great tweets if I say so myself). At first, there was a young man seated between them and then Schaefer’s wife. Little did they know they had the best and most intriguing seats in the house. Their body language screamed that these two are no longer simpatico. Last month, I penned this column that outlined the growing tension between the two (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/a-golden-rift) and this past week, De la Hoya basically marked his territory as the boss of Golden Boy and made it public that he was seeking a detente with Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions. At the same time, Schaefer made it clear to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. Times, who captured this in-house verbal sparring so ably, (http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-richard-schaefer-bob-arum-20140424,0,1419916.story#axzz307qrSrVW), that he had no intention of working with Arum.
After Figueroa had won a split decision (or least that’s what I think happened. Most of us on press row were all too busy looking across the ring to see if Oscar and Richard would even exchange glances), Schaefer customarily came over to the media, very well aware of what was being bandied about on Twitter and he actually found it very amusing. “You love this stuff,” he says to me, laughing. And yeah, well...I do. The bottom line is while it’s boxing we cover, it’s more than about just writing about the fights and fighters. A large part of our job is to cover the personalities, the politics and the interpersonal relationships that exist in the sport and how they affect the fans.
For years, the “Cold War” between Golden Boy and Top Rank had an adverse effect on the business and those who support it. Now, this particular situation and how it plays out will have a direct bearing on what fights will be consummated in the near future. After talking a bit about Figueroa and his future, this reporter asked Schaefer about the conflict. He answered, “You mean the Arum stuff?” Well, actually, it’s more about him and Oscar; isn’t it?
“Well, y’know, I’m happy for Bob and Oscar if they can make peace,” he stated. “It’s on again, off again, on again, off again. I guess it’s now on again, so I don’t really get too worked up about it. I’m doing my job; I’m making great fights. We have a busy week ahead, looking very much forward to next week. Working on June 21st, another fight here, the StubHub Center, so I’m doing my job while the two lovebirds are...well, I don’t know what they’re doing...but they’re making peace!”
As he says this, Schaefer laughs freely like a man without a care in the world. Like someone who believes things will work out for the good, one way or the other for him. Like that card shark who has an ace up his sleeve. But will he at least get together with De la Hoya and try to get on the same page as they (or is it “if”) they move forward?
“Y’know, sometimes you have differences of opinions. That’s the way it goes.”
Huh? That’s it?!
“Yeah, what else would you say?” Schaefer asked with a chuckle. “I have a different strategy and I think my strategy, so far, has worked. I’ve built up the number one promotional company in the world. So I’m pretty proud of what I’ve achieved and I think my strategy was spot-on and I’m going to continue with that strategy as long as I’m the CEO of Golden Boy. The CEO of Golden Boy runs the business. I was hired to run the business and if I’m asked not to run the business anymore, then people should talk to me and let me know and then I’ll probably run another business,” said “Rogue” Schaefer. Who knows what the other business will be? Running Floyd Mayweather’s promotional outfit? Maybe being the face of a venture started by Al Haymon? Or who knows, running the Clippers while Donald Sterling sorts out his issues? We’ll find out soon. It should be interesting to see what happens after May 3rd when Mayweather faces Marcos Maidana.
As Lucas Matthysse and John Molina were about to enter the ring, Schaefer headed back to the other side of the ring and his seat. So close yet so far from the man who owns the company he runs.
It never seems to fail. From Rafael Marquez-Israel Vazquez III to Tim Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov to Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I, this venue in Carson (formerly the Home Depot Center) never fails to host memorable fights on a consistent basis. And that was the case as Lucas Matthysse had to come off the canvas twice to finally subdue the spirited challenge of John Molina in 11 memorable innings that had an announced crowd of just over 6,700 on its feet for much of the night.
Out of all the fights on this Showtime tripleheader, this one - despite its long odds - figured to be the most entertaining and action-packed of the evening. And that came to fruition as the heavy-handed Molina came out swinging, hurting Matthysse with a right hand in the first and then sending him down in the second and fifth frames. For the fabled “Machine,” it was gut-check time and you wondered how he’d react after his disappointing September defeat to Danny Garcia. Matthysse started getting his jab going and was able to control the action by the middle rounds. He slowly closed in on Molina and began a steady assault to the body.
Matthysse returned the favor by flooring Molina in the eighth and 10th frames. There was much debate about Molina coming out after the 10th and there was a bit of an incident between his trainer, Joe Goossen and the ringside physician. Molina was allowed to continue but was quickly sent down to the canvas in the 11th. The fight was waved off by referee Pat Russell but in defeat, Molina erased the memories of his short-order meltdown versus Antonio DeMarco on HBO in 2012.
As for Matthysse, he seemed to find himself halfway through this fight and regained his mojo.
But what is it about this place that brings out the best in fighters?
“I was sitting there ringside and I said, ‘Y’know what? I have never been at the StubHub Center, where there was not at least one ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Never. And by the way, not just with us promoting, others too,” said Schaefer.
Keith Thurman had a truncated night because Julio Diaz had to call it a day with a damaged rib. But the technical improvements Thurman has made in terms of his footwork and balance are clear...Manager Sergio Diaz says Jesus Soto Karass could be facing Devon Alexander on either July 12th (on the Saul Alvarez-Erislandy Lara undercard) or its own date...Looks like Abner Mares will finally make his return on June 21st at the StubHub Center...This is where you really miss Mark Heisler’s annual open letter to Donald Sterling...The first round of the NBA playoffs have been something else...Ican be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.