By Rick Reeno
Since the start of the month, Golden Boy Promotions has undergone a variety of major changes. Longtime company CEO Richard Schaefer left the company on June 2nd. Less than two weeks later saw the depature of company COO and CMO Bruce Binkow. There were other staffing changes – and, company President and majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya took over Golden Boy’s day to day operations.
Immediately following Schaefer’s departure, the industry focus quickly shifted to Golden Boy’s relationship with powerful manager and adviser Al Haymon.
Even prior to Schaefer’s departure, there were widespread rumors that Schaefer was leaving Golden to align himself with a brand new promotional entity – and that Haymon’s fighters would follow Schaefer to that company.
The vast majority of Haymon’s voluminous stable is being promoted under Golden Boy’s banner. Some of those fighters have promotional agreements with Golden Boy and some of them are not under contract.
Company Vice President, Eric Gomez, has indicated to BoxingScene.com that most of the information being circulated with respect to Haymon’s fighters, and their standing with Golden Boy, is inaccurate.
“For us it's business as usual. Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of fighters that we have under contract with him. It's not all accurate what people are saying. A few of our fighters with Al are still under contract with Golden Boy Promotions,” Gomez told BoxingScene.com.
Schaefer had a very close relationship with Haymon, but apparently he wasn’t the only one who became good friends with the 2013 manager of the year. Gomez told BoxingScene that Schaefer's departure has not affected Golden Boy's relationship with Haymon in any way.
“We have a great relationship with Al Haymon and it’s not a relationship that came overnight. Al worked very closely with Richard, but he also worked very closely with all of us at Golden Boy. It's a relationship that developed over the last seven, eight years or so. I've known Al since we started Golden Boy Promotions. We had a couple of his fighters in our first year, when we were doing shows at the Marriot with no TV. I've known Al for a long time. I have a great relationship with him and a great respect,” Gomez said.
Although a good number of Haymon’s fighters, who don’t have binding promotional agreements, are being showcased by Golden Boy on a continuous basis, there doesn't appear to be any immediate problems. Gomez is currently working with Haymon under that arrangement, but obviously he would rather have those fighters under binding agreements.
Golden Boy is not the first promoter to showcase Haymon fighters under a verbal understanding between manager and promoter – which ultimately replaces an actual binding contract. In the past and presently, Lou DiBella, Dan Goossen and Gary Shaw have been involved with Haymon fighters under similar arrangements.
“A piece of paper doesn't mean anything unless you have a great working relationship. And more than anything Al wants to continue working with us and he's told us that and that's what we want to do. We want to bring the fans the best fights and the show from this weekend is a great example of why we got into this, to do shows like that. We want to have the best fight the best,” Gomez said.
Some industry experts, and rival promoters, view the arrangement between Golden Boy and Haymon as being dangerous – because the lack of contracts could leave their company vulnerable if Haymon packed up his non-contract fighters and moved across the street to a rival company.
Those fears are not shared by Gomez, who considers Haymon’s word to be as strong as a contract. Some of the Haymon fighters, who don’t have contracts, have been with Golden Boy since the start of their pro careers.
"He’s never [broken his word]. You see his track record. He never has. Whenever Al said something to me, me personally, something that we were working on - it happened. He's never done otherwise in my experience of dealing with him. With regarding to moving forward and working with him, we are going to continue doing what we're doing,” Gomez said.
“We've developed those guys [who don’t have contracts]. We built them, we developed those guys. Most of the guys that he has, we've had them from day one. We've developed them and built these guys up. Again I'll say this; there are rumors out there that we have none of those fighters under contract. We do have a number of them under contract.”
The goal right now is to move forward, move past the recent departures, and continue to put together exciting events. Gomez expects a very busy schedule of shows to close out the year. Multiple events, featuring the biggest names in their stable, are already being worked on for August, September and October.
“Golden Boy is a machine. It's a team and it's always been a team. Richard was our quarterback. And like any team, if you lose a quarterback...what do you do? You go and replace your quarterback. All of us here - our goal is to keep doing what we're doing, what we've been doing and we did it this last Saturday and we are going to continue going forward,” Gomez said.