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Ortiz-Berto II on the Move?

(Photo © German Villasenor)
(Photo © German Villasenor)


Originally the plan from Golden Boy Promotions called for the anticipated rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto- who engaged in one of the best bouts of 2011- to be rescheduled from its original date of February 11th to June 30th after Berto suffered an injury to his left bicep just a couple of weeks before the fight. The card also shifted from the MGM Grand to the Mandalay Bay. Now there is a very good chance that this Showtime telecast will move from Las Vegas to the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 23rd.
 
It’s just one of many moves being made by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who’s had quite the hectic travel schedule recently.
 
“It looks like it. I’m going to be having, today, a meeting with Dan Beckerman from AEG and we are going to see if we can work it out,” said Schaefer on Thursday morning. “But it looks pretty good and, by the way, what’s going to happen is, it looks like- and again, I’m working on all this stuff. I was in New York, had meetings and today, I’m in the office.  I have to try and tie everything together-  Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse are going to be on that card. It looks like it but it’s not done yet.”
 
This seems like the prudent decision. When this fight was still slated for February 11th, the host hotel was running promotions, offering its players free rooms that weekend and complimentary fight tickets (read into that what you will). Ortiz-Berto II is a good match-up; it just didn’t seem to really fit in Las Vegas. At least in Los Angeles, with the addition of that nice-looking, junior welterweight opener, it has a fighting chance. Schaefer adds, “The thing is, with Staples Center, it’s just not available very often and I think it’s one of the reasons why you don’t see more fights at Staples Center. So when you do have an opening at Staples Center, it is a tremendous opportunity because I believe it is important that for some of those bigger fight towns such as Los Angeles to have regular fights. I mean, I’d like to see like three big fights a year at Staples Center. I just really think it’s important. I think Ortiz and Berto is such a great fight; it doesn’t matter where you really put it but I think Staples Center is such a natural.”

Schaefer, whose company shares close ties with the MGM Grand and a partnership with AEG (which owns and operates facilities throughout the country like the Staples Center and the Home Depot Center), says a large focus of Golden Boy’s plans in ’12 is to hit major non-casino venues.
 
“We want to go back to Washington D.C. We are going to be doing something on June 30th from the Verizon Center, the big venue there,” he said. Golden Boy actually enjoyed a successful promotion (at least from an attendance perspective) back in December with the Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan fight. “We are looking at doing something from El Paso. We are looking at doing July 28th, Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero from San Jose, from the big venue there, the HP Pavilion. I’m very encouraged by the ratings increases across the board, whether it’s on HBO or Showtime, Telefutura or ESPN. I mean, all of them have double-digit increases year over year in their boxing programming. So I’m very encouraged by that and I think it’s important to us as promoters that we feed the local markets.

“Because I think feeding the local markets is going to in return, help those ratings, as well, because what you do is, you nurture a local audience and you make boxing relevant again in all these local markets. And that’s why it’s important to sort of do sort of like a U.S. tour of boxing. Showcasing the sport and this is something which I have been working on.”
 
In addition to all this, this weekend, Golden Boy is in St. Louis for the Devon Alexander-Marcos Maidana fight, broadcast live by HBO from St. Louis. On March 28th, they will be in Houston where Erik Morales faces Danny Garcia and James Kirkland battles Carlos Molina. Then in May, they have two shows in Vegas, Floyd Mayweather’s pay-per-view outing with Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand and the rematch between Peterson and Khan two weeks later at the Mandalay Bay.

“We’re very busy,” stated Schaefer. “This is clearly our best year ever. I’m very active; there’s a lot of shows, so it’s great.”
 
LA CRIMES
 
Having L.A./Southern California as a fertile boxing market can only benefit Golden Boy Promotions, given they are headquartered in this region and they, alongside AEG, are a large part of the reason why this city gets a regular rotation of major fights.
 
But Schaefer laments, “The unfortunate thing is that the LA Times is not very supportive of the sport of boxing. I mean, they cover everything from beach volleyball to water polo. They cover that more extensively than they cover boxing. I don’t know why. And if they do cover boxing, they sort of have it somewhere on the last page as a little footnote and that’s unfortunate because other papers, other news organizations- you take, for example, the USA Today, one of the most read newspapers in the world- they extensively cover boxing. And I think the LA Times is missing the boat here because, believe me, boxing is more important to the Hispanic readers than water polo and beach volleyball- and I don’t mean to pick on those two sports- just saying it for illustration purposes.”
 
I agree and disagree with Schaefer on several fronts here. First, if he thinks the boxing coverage at the “World Champion” (as the late, great Jim Healy called it) is lacking now, he should’ve seen it when Bill Dwyre was the sports editor not too long ago. What’s ironic is that now that Dwyre is no longer in that position, he actually writes about boxing now pretty often. Lance Pugmire, who I have a lot of respect for, actually loves to cover our crazy sport and would like to do more. But again, as newspapers’ staffs are trimmed to the bone, most writers are stretched thin and cover more than just one beat nowadays.
 
Schaefer is correct though regarding the demographic make-up of our city. I do find it a bit odd that the last time this paper had a regular boxing column was back in the early 2000s with Steve Springer. When I was growing up, I was spoiled. I got to read boxing several times a week from the likes of John “Boom Boom” Beyrooty, Alan “Notes on a Scorecard” Malamud and the legendary Jim Murray (As of now, I think Robert Morales of the LA Daily News is the only reporter in the land with his own weekly column devoted to the “Sweet Science”). But in its defense, the Times did have pretty extensive coverage of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel the following day with a front page feature from Dwyre and a supporting piece from Pugmire (and I know this because I still read the paper. Hey, I’m old). I’m pretty sure that they will give the same amount of inches to the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto presser taking place next week.
 
But I’ve said long ago that one of the reasons why major papers across the country stopped covering boxing is that as more and more fights were taken out of these jurisdictions to far-flung casinos, there wasn’t anything to cover in terms of live, local events. Now as budgets tighten, most newspapers barely send anyone out to cover the major fights in Las Vegas. More and more of press row is now made up by the ’net.
 
“So I do hope bringing big-time championship boxing to Los Angeles on a regular basis that the major newspaper in our market is going to warm up a bit as well because they’re certainly missing the boat,” said Schaefer.
 
NO COMMENT
 
I asked Schaefer if that card in D.C. will consist of the likes of Gary Russell Jr. and Seth Mitchell (who both have local ties to the area) and he said that while it may be a possibility, “I’m working on something else as it relates to that, so I can’t really disclose it. Again, it has served me well in the last six months where I have really applied a ‘no comment’ policy as it relates to what I’m doing.”
 
So right now, mum’s the word till the ink dries on his agreements.
 
“Other promoters, they go and talk about what they’re doing and it’s unfortunate that there’s a lot of people out there; they try to ruin it for the other promoters,” continued Schaefer, taking a not-so-veiled crack at Bob Arum. “So it has served me very well. I close my door. I make the fight. I cut the venue deals and then we have something to announce.”
 
MAXBOXING RADIO
 
Here is this week’s edition of “Maxboxing Radio” with Corey Erdman and Yours Truly: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/maxboxingradio/2012/02/23/max-boxing-radio--february-22
 
GOLDEN FLURRIES
 
Schaefer did say that the bout between Saul Alvarez and Shane Mosley will take place at the MGM Grand alongside Mayweather-Cotto. “Yes, absolutely, no split-site.”...Also the plan is for Guerrero to face Selcuk Aydin in late July but, of course, we should all wait for the press release to come out first from Team Guerrero...And if Adrien Broner gets past Eloy Perez on Saturday night (no sure thing), he could be opening up the HBO broadcast on May 19th before Peterson-Khan II...This week’s edition of “ShoBox” looks like nothing more than an attempt to curry favor with Mayweather Promotions but at least Showtime got the Mayweather-Cotto fight out of it...oh, wait...I’m told that if Jessie Vargas gets past Lanardo Tyner, he could face Alfonso Gomez on May 5th on the pay-per-view undercard...Speaking of “ShoBox,” on April 27th, they will have a co-feature with Orlando Del Valle and Thomas Oosthuizen...According to a tweet from @carlmoretti of Top Rank: More leather flying on April 14...Mike Alvarado & Mauricio Hererra to open up #RiosGamboa....#dontwearwhiteringside......I’m told that tickets for Rios-Gamboa will go on sale on March 1st...So after further review, Ryan Braun is still the National League MVP?...When the Lakers play big and utilize their size, they aren’t half-bad...Anyone else excited for the NFL Combine? Can’t wait to see the 3-cone shuttle drill and the 40-yard dash...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.




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