|A Conversation with Richard Schaefer
INTERVIEW By Gabriel Montoya (Nov 7, 2007) Doghouse Boxing
Last week at the media workout for Shane Mosley in Los Angeles, I had the chance to speak briefly with CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer about the future of Golden Boy and the sport of boxing. Doghouseboxing.com welcomes for the first time, Richard Schaefer.
Gabriel Montoya: With Shane looking for one or two more fights, Oscar saying 2008 is his last year in boxing, who do you feel will be the future of Golden Boy?
Richard Schaefer: Well, I think Shane, Bernard and the old guard I think will have a couple more years left, besides that you have Juan Manuel Marquez who finally got himself an opportunity. You have Linares, Katsidis, and Ponce de Leon. There’s another kid, some other kids we are looking at in Mexico. We are constantly on the lookout for that next superstar.
GM: Among those fighters, do see any of them being that kind of crossover star that Oscar was?
RS: Well, I honestly don’t think there is going to be anybody like Oscar. That kind of magnitude. But you never know it seems like that there is some young kid seizing the opportunity. We see that nurturing that as our responsibility. It could be out of the Olympics as well. We are looking very closely at the World Games. Working with Shelly Finkel. Very closely with him. So you know, we think that eventually some one will emerge.
GM: Where do you see boxing in ten years? Where does Golden Boy intend to take boxing in the next ten years?
RS: Well I think what is important is if you look at other sports, maybe it should become more a sport driven and less a star driven concept. Like if you look at UFC, they advertise UFC whatever number. Number 73, number 74 and so on. And often they don’t even put down the names on the next UFC event. And so in boxing it’s a very star driven concept.
And I think at the end of the day, as long as you have exciting fights like this one right here with Mosley and Cotto. As long as they are fights toe to toe and not like running or dancing around all night. But if you give the people that kind of fight then I think they will be attracted much more to the sport of boxing. So I see an evolution that the best fight the best because if the best fight the best there is no loser as long as it’s good and competitive fights.
GM: Speaking to that point of the best fighting the best, how do you envision the sanctioning bodies in that future? They seem to prevent the best fighting the best more often than not. Do you think we would be better off not having them or perhaps having them form into one league?
RS: Well I do believe that the issue of the sanctioning organizations is an issue and this issue is a potential problem. I think in the mind of consumers the word “world champion” has been a bit diluted. Now there are four major organizations. Some of them now have interim champions, full time champions, and super champions.
GM: Champions emeritus.
RS: Yes. Now you don’t even have only four champions. You have potentially eight or ten champions in a weight class. So how can a fan really know who is the best? And the only way you can do that is truly the best fight the best. When I say the best fight the best that has really nothing to do with titles. That has to do with the kind of fights the public wants to see and you saw Oscar/Mayweather was one of those examples. Barrera and Pacquiao was another one. You’re going to see this with Cotto/Mosley and Mayweather and Hatton. Or Raphael Marquez and Israel Vasquez. Joan Guzman and Humberto Soto. Rocky Juarez and Juan Manuel Marquez. The kind of fights where you really don’t know who is going to win. They are going to be close battles and I think at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they are for a title or not. It doesn’t really seem to matter to the consumer. But at the same time having said that, for young kids, if you are a young kid working out at the gym and dreaming about becoming world champion, they aspire to be the next WBC or WBO world champion. So just to really cut out the sanctioning organizations and titles is not really fair to all these young kids who try and step into the footsteps of the Oscar De La Hoyas and so on. They all work for these titles. I think eventually, I would hope that the sanctioning organizations could come together and find a common base for the betterment of the sport where they can really together.
GM: With the best fighting the best and getting these larger audiences, do you think there is danger though with a fight like De La Hoya/Mayweather where there was so much hype and so many sales but the fight wasn’t that exciting? Ultimately it was more of a chess match. It wasn’t the toe-to-toe battle that Mayweather promised it would be.
RS: Oscar brought the fight. Mayweather wasn’t doing what he said he was going to do to Oscar but having said that, it is a fact that Mayweather is the best pound for pound fighter against Oscar. It still was an event. It maybe wasn’t the best fight in the ring but there was some other great undercard fights, extremely exciting and so on. So if you are a consumer and you bought the PPV, you got a bit of everything. You got the star studded main event and so as a result if you look at the PPV business in boxing this year, I do believe that the De La Hoya fight did capture a new audience for boxing. Even though the fight wasn’t a toe-to-toe battle that Mayweather said it would be I still think it showed people to the sport that would have not watched the sport before. And it seems if you look at the PPV numbers since then, many of these consumers have stayed with the sport and in that regard the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight I think was very good for boxing.
GM: If you could change one thing about the sport, one thing right now, what would it be?
RS: (Long pause) So many. I think better cooperation among the promoters. Just like in other sports where team owners don’t belittle each other but really work together. I think that is, I think that would make for a different sport. The only thing that happens when promoters go at each other or try and undermine each other, what they do is hurt the image of the sport. And really they bring a lot of negativity to the sport. And I think the promoters should work more together I think that would great for the future of the sport.
GM: Thank you very much, Richard. I look forward to more conversations in the future.
RS: Of course. Thank you.
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