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A Thaw?


Bob Arum has stated that WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire will return to the ring April 13th on HBO. In published reports, the veteran promoter has thrown out WBC 122-pound titlist Abner Mares as a possibility. As you know by now, these talented fighters in the thick of their physical primes and earning potential are promoted respectively by Top Rank and Golden Boy, who get along as well as the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
So while President Barack Obama may plead for bipartisanship, perhaps it’s really boxing fans who should be yearning for it. Right now, Donaire vs. Mares is just the latest match bound to be a historical hypothetical between boxers of these rival promotional parties, who don’t seem to give any indication of budging.

Both sides have given the usual lip service to making this a reality. But can it actually get done? It seems both are insistent on doing it on their terms.
And that’s the problem.
“First of all, as long as Bob comes with this arrogant position that it’s basically his way or the highway...I mean, he might be the “Godfather of all Arums”; he’s not the “Godfather of Boxing.” So this silly notion, this arrogance is hurting the sport and it’s hurting the fighters - particularly his fighters - because look at what they’re left with. I mean, they only have these in-house shows or against C and D-level opponents. So he’s hurting his business and, more importantly, he’s hurting his fighters and the sport,” said Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions CEO, to Maxboxing on Tuesday afternoon. Arum, who is currently on business in China, has said repeatedly that he would make Golden Boy an offer for Mares to face Donaire.
Schaefer continued, “Having said that, as it relates to Mares, he came with a total bullsh*t offer to buy out Mares, to get the services of Mares and I know what the numbers are. And if he is basing his numbers, the offer he made through [manager] Frank Espinoza, on the kind of license fee he can get from HBO, I can tell you he’s dealing with the wrong network. But if the number is right, I am not going to stand in the way of getting that fight done. But Abner Mares deserves to be compensated on the available numbers for such a fight and Golden Boy - who has invested a lot of money in Abner Mares - is obviously entitled to get compensated as well.”
Espinoza is Mares’ manager, who is serving as the intermediary in these talks. It speaks volumes that Arum and Schaefer can’t even seem to make courtesy calls to each other on their clients’ behalf (seriously, at least Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner talk when they have to). In this instance, Espinoza is Henry Kissinger. He says of this situation, “I don’t believe in negotiating through the media; I don’t think that’s particularly productive. But I have good, solid, professional relationships with both companies and I’m just trying to move along the process and do what I can to make a fight that I know the public wants. It would be a shame if this fight never came off.”
Schaefer has gone as far as to make this proposal: Let Golden Boy have the promotion and put up money (according to, he was willing to give the opposing side $3 million), which can be split between Donaire and Top Rank any way they want. He projects that with the television license fee, international rights, sponsorships and site fee, that he can make more money for both fighters as the lead promoter. Perhaps Schaefer is bluffing. Should Arum call his bluff and take his hand?
That said, Arum has seemed insistent on having Top Rank run the show regardless. He seems intractable in this regard.
There are severe hurdles in making this fight. For one, these companies hate each other and have lived in parallel universes for a couple of years. Secondly, according to Arum, Top Rank is effectively banned from Showtime (which has televised nothing but Golden Boy content on its “Championship Boxing” series for the past year or so). Donaire is clearly an HBO entity, having made millions on the network the past couple of years. Showtime has developed the Mares brand during this same stretch of time. Neither network wants to see either of these fighters in the most highly publicized match-up of their careers “across the street.” Arum simply will not allow Donaire to fight on Showtime. Schaefer doesn’t want to damage his relationship with them by having Mares appear on HBO.
And you thought avoiding the “fiscal cliff” was difficult.
I’ll say it again (fully realizing this is nothing more than mental masturbation and/or a pipe dream); given the animus between the two companies and the fact that even ancillary issues like competing sponsors (Tecate and Corona) exist, my recommendation is that you figure out an agreed-upon purse split (and given Donaire is now close to the million-dollar mark for fighting on HBO airwaves and Mares is making six-figures on Showtime, Donaire gets a higher percentage) and then have a purse bid.
Whoever comes up with the higher offer gets the right to promote the fight. They get to present it in whatever venue they see fit, have the network of their choosing and keep their sponsorship deals intact.
After the fight, everyone is free to go their separate directions.
Regarding Golden Boy’s pay-per-view card on May 4th featuring Floyd Mayweather, Schaefer stated, “We basically have concluded our negotiations and we are all set. We’ve sent the paperwork to our attorneys; we’re working with the fighters’ representatives to get the paperwork done, signed, and we’re going to announce it. We’re reluctant to announce it without it being signed on a fight of this magnitude.”
It’s believed Mayweather will be facing Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero with perhaps Saul Alvarez appearing on this undercard. Schaefer says an official announcement will be made “in the next few days.”
In news that won’t make too many boxing fans unhappy, it doesn’t look like the April 27th bout between WBA welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley will come to fruition. Schaefer said, “I just don’t think financially it’s going to work. It has nothing to do with Shane.”
To this Malignaggi replied, “Let’s make the Marcos Maidana fight. Maidana says he wants to fight me. I have tried to, in the past, try to get the fight with him. Now, if I don’t have the Mosley fight, Maidana currently has no fight scheduled for the spring. I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight each other. It’s a fight everyone wants to see including the fans.”
Malignaggi is scheduled to headline on this date at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Arum was in China to announce the signing of two-time gold medalist Zou Shiming, who will make his pro debut on April 6th at the Venetian in Macau. Also on the card could be flyweight king Brian Viloria...Main Events announced the signing of undefeated lightweight Karl Dargan, 11-0 (6), who will debut for the company on February 23rd in Philly...Schaefer also mentioned they have date for June 8th (Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend) at the Barclays Center...It looks like Golden Boy will no longer be doing cards on Telefutura (now called “UniMas”) anymore. Some of the slack will be picked up by Top Rank, which will have a show on February 2nd from McAllen, Texas...TV entanglements in boxing are nothing new. Fighters have switched networks to make big fights a reality like when Pernell Whitaker went on Showtime (Pay-Per-View) to face Julio Cesar Chavez. But it wasn’t well received at HBO; trust me. One day I’ll have to tell that classic story...Did the ‘Canes really blow out Duke in basketball?...I know Lakers fans don’t want to hear this but Kobe Bryant is a part of the problem...Uh, yeah, Tim Brown, Manti Te’o wants to talk to you about the peril of making stuff up...I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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