It’s not going to be possible now, or even probably over the next few months, for the ramifications of Richard Schaefer’s departure from the sport’s biggest promoter Golden Boy — announced Monday — to become fully realized. Finish typing a sentence about it, and it’s already changed, say, with the sport’s biggest star Floyd Mayweather declaring he won’t work with Golden Boy anymore. Tomorrow another comment will come from someone involved, a lawsuit might drop, a Golden Boy-Top Rank deal might be signed, the big networks could take sides…
Just know that this is going to shake up the sport. The feud between face of the company Oscar De La Hoya and CEO Schaefer has been public knowledge for a long time, the threat of a split very real. Here are some random things to expect now that it’s happened. Disclaimer: All of these predictions are probably wrong.
–Schaefer is probably getting together with Mayweather Promotions, no matter his stock in Golden Boy, the widespread unconfirmed belief that he has a non compete clause or his open-ended statement about the potential to do something other than the boxing business. Mayweather has openly pined for joining forces with Schaefer, even though his team wouldn’t renew the pining Monday. There are a few things that need to happen first: Mayweather Promotions, founded in 2007, mystifyingly has never obtained a license in the state of Nevada. So that needs to be fixed, something quite peculiar — who starts a promotional company that can’t promote and doesn’t get a license, and why? We also need more information about any non compete clause and what Golden Boy really meant when it said it intends to enforce a contract with Schaefer through 2018, and what it means for when Schaefer can sign up with someone else.
–When Schaefer goes to Mayweather Promotions, expect a significant number of Golden Boy-aligned fighters to go with him. The Golden Boy marriage with Al Haymon (the manager with by far the biggest stable) has been a tentative one, with a number of Haymon fighters having not signed contracts with Golden Boy proper. Haymon has been on a signing spree that coincides with the news of the Schaefer-De La Hoya feud going public. There may be some discussion of whether contracts signed with Golden Boy where Schaefer was the leader of the company while De La Hoya was in rehab or otherwise elsewhere are now valid. Expect lawsuits with high-powered lawyers on both sides, and maybe from a bunch of other parties, too. (We already have one that interjects itself into the Schaefer/Golden Boy/Haymon triangle.)
–Golden Boy, evicted from HBO and long at odds with the sport’s other biggest promoter, Top Rank, will now again promote fights with its longtime rival — but will probably acquire a new rival in so doing. De La Hoya’s wooing of Top Rank’s Bob Arum precipitated the split with Schaefer, who has a hate-hate relationship with Arum. Whatever Schaefer does next if he stays in boxing, it probably won’t involve being friendly with either Golden Boy or Top Rank. Golden Boy will keep some big assets no matter what Schaefer does and no matter whether Golden Boy and Top Rank become pals, chief among them Canelo Alvarez, the top rising star in boxing. Word is that the promotion of Alvarez’s next fight, on Showtime pay-per-view, will not be affected by the Schaefer news.
–Therefore, the boxing Cold War between HBO/Top Rank and Showtime/Golden Boy that has split the sport in twain is likely going to end, but another one is likely to begin. Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza had said when the split was being discussed that he’d work with everyone no matter what happened, but he probably won’t. He probably will side with the new Schaefer/Haymon/Mayweather Promotions team, which has buttered his bread aplenty in his bid to challenge HBO’s boxing broadcast supremacy. And definitely do not expect anything to change about Mayweather not fighting Manny Pacquiao. One of the more distant hopes of the Cold War ending was that it would remove the hurdle of feuding promoters in the corner of each men, but Mayweather has never said he’d work with Top Rank if Golden Boy did — only that he himself would not work with Top Rank. Now he won’t work with either of them.