Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Golden Boy-Klitschkos: Barclays Rift Could Have Solution

By Mitch Abramson
 
On second thought, maybe Wladimir Klitschko can fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after all. Just not on opening night. The past few days have seen a war of words between Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy, and Bernd Boente, manager of the Klitschko brothers, over the possibility of Wladimir fighting in Brooklyn, possibly against Chris Arreola at the Barclays Center on Oct. 20.

The Barclays Center is the future home of the NBA Nets, a billion dollar enterprise in downtown Brooklyn erected to compete with Madison Square Garden for the hearts, minds and wallets of local sports fans. The arena is contracted to do big-ticket boxing shows every month after it opens in the fall. The opening night is Oct. 20, the same date when Boente would like to see Klitschko face Arreola.

The only problem is that Golden Boy signed a controversial multi-fight deal with the Barclays Center to run monthly boxing shows as the lead promoter. While some promoters have scoffed at the deal because of its restrictive nature, Schaefer has maintained since he signed the deal in the summer of 2010 that he's open to co-promoting with other companies. Yet Boente isn’t interested in that sort of relationship when it comes to the Klitschkos. The Klitschkos are selling out arenas in Germany. Why would they  need a co-promoter? he says. He’s also not shy about expressing himself.

He recently told SI.com that Schaefer is using his deal in Brooklyn at the exclusion of other fighters and at the expense of fans, specifically to keep Wladimir from fighting there. Schaefer, not one to hold his tongue, shot back, saying the handlers responsible for selling the Klitschkos to an American audience have done a poor job (Schaefer is fond of calling the Klitschkos the “German heavyweight champions” because of their proclivity for fighting in Germany to adoring crowds) and would be wise to partner with Golden Boy to co-promote in the U.S., a suggestion that Boente scoffs at.

However, Schaefer offered an olive branch of sorts to the Klitschkos and Boente in their bid to fight in Brooklyn. The Klitschkos can fight there, Schaefer told BoxingScene, just not on opening night, which Schaefer likened to a movie premiere and the perfect time for him to sell his vision of boxing to Brooklyn. Rather, the brothers can fight in November or December, for example, just any date but Oct. 20. And they can do so as the lead promoter without worrying about Golden Boy’s involvement. Schaefer said he’s perfectly willing to step aside for a month and allow someone else to promote if it’s in the best interest of the arena. Golden Boy's three-year deal with Barclays calls for monthly shows, of the big and small variety.

“I don’t care,” Schaefer said. “They can go. I don’t need to be involved. They can do a fight there and do a deal with the Barclays Center. I couldn’t care less but not for the opening weekend.”

He even broached the idea with Brett Yormark, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates the Barclays Center, and the man responsible for signing the multi-year deal with Golden Boy. Yormark paid a visit to representatives of the Klitschkos several weeks ago in Miami, to see if they were interested in fighting at the Barclays Center in October.

Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 promotions, which promotes the Klitschkos, said there was a little confusion as to who would stage the initial show in the event one of the brothers fought on opening night.

“At that time it wasn’t clear that it needed to be a co-promotion [until after the meeting],” Loeffler said.

According to Loeffler, Yormark flew down with Shelly Finkel, an advisor to the Klitschkos to discuss the idea. Yormark wasn’t trying to cut Schaefer out of the equation by calling on the Klitschkos personally. Yormark has always maintained his loyalty to Golden Boy and the deal they signed. The two spoke after the meeting and came to an agreement.

“If [Brett feels] strongly that there is a fight which fits perfectly with them and it’s great for Brooklyn, I am not going to say, ‘Well, I need to be involved. I need to have my banner up there’ and bull [stuff] like that,” Schaefer quipped. “I’m not going to do that if Lou DiBella or Gary [Shaw] or Top Rank is going to want to do a fight in Brooklyn, and it’s a fight that Brett and his team feel is good for the venue. Hey, go ahead and do it. I’m not an ego-maniac like that. No problem.”

Loeffler was certainly pleased to hear the possibility of doing a show in Brooklyn without having to work with another promoter.

“Yeah sure, that would be of interest,” he said from Germany, where Wladimir defended his heavyweight titles against Jean-Marc Mormeck on Saturday. “That was the whole reason why [Klitschkos’ manager] Bernd took the meeting in the first place to explore those possibilities.”

In a statement, Yormark reiterated his desire to bring the best fights to Brooklyn.

“Our No. 1 goal is to bring major professional boxing back to Brooklyn while doing what’s best for the sport,” he said. “I want to have Wladimir fight at Barclays Center, and there’s no doubt the Russian community will love him. And while we're partnered in the boxing business with Golden Boy, we are all open to a co-promoter on any of the cards." 

Schaefer wants to use the first date to make a good first impression on the New York fight fans and make a connection.

“We want to use the first show at the Barclays to really showcase the series,” Schaefer said. “This is going to be a big thing.”

Schaefer is treating the inaugural night of boxing at the Barclays Center like a movie premiere and Oscars rolled into one. He hasn’t secured a network for that first show as of yet but did describe what the first telecast might look like, with a televised segment on the history of boxing in Brooklyn preceding the fights on the telecast. Schaefer plans on shopping each individual show to a network instead of having one distributor do the complete three-year deal.

“Both HBO and Showtime are really interested in doing events from the Barclays Center,” he said. “It’s a billion dollar state of the art facility. Who wouldn’t want to be there?”

To that end, and with a subtle jab at the Klitschkos, Schaefer said he wants to showcase fighters who have “connected” to American sports fans, and “fighters who are relevant to a U.S. audience” and who are agreeable to fighting often in Brooklyn in the initial show.

Loeffler took issue with the idea the Klitschkos can't do good business in America, referencing shows they did in New York and L.A. as proof of the fighters' popularity.

Schaefer referenced the following fighters as possibilities for participating in the first main event: Paulie Malignaggi making his first defense of his world title (if he wins the WBA welterweight belt from Senchenko on April 29); perhaps Canelo Alvarez against an opponent to be determined, or Bernard Hopkins in his retirement fight, maybe Miguel Cotto, Schaefer went on, exuding confidence in his ability to create something memorable on Oct. 20.

“I really don’t know,” Schaefer said, dropping superstar names one after the other, “but it’s going to be a really big event.” 

Lost in the conversation is the availability of Arreola, who’s being mentioned as a possible opponent for Wladimir, if not on opening night then perhaps down the road a bit. Arreola’s promoter, Dan Goossen, said that he’s yet to be contacted for such a fight since there remain a few hurdles to overcome and the arena is months away from opening. At this point, it's just conjecture.  Plus, there are other factors to consider, he said. Arreola is the mandatory for Vitali in the WBC. And, Wladimir has a mandatory against the Goossen-promoted Tony Thompson in bout slated to take place no later than June, Goossen added.

“I don’t’ mind his forward thinking but I believe Tony Thompson has a tremendous shot to pull the upset,” Goossen said.

And if that happens, all the discussions of having Wladimir fight in Brooklyn this year would seem somewhat premature and like a distant memory.

Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by joe strong on 03-04-2012

regardless of who is fighting on opening night it still means more boxing on television. NBC, HBO, SHOWTIME & now possibly CBS.things are looking up for the sport in the states...

Comment by xAUGUSTUSx on 03-04-2012

[QUOTE=Victorious713;11852279]Well it cant be Cotto because he fights on May 5th. And I'm not a fan of a Paulie Mag main event unless he's fighting a top fighter.[/QUOTE] They should've brought that Ukranian dude to Brooklyn for Paullie instead of…

Comment by xAUGUSTUSx on 03-04-2012

[QUOTE=DontGlassMeBro;11851668]true that. i hate how these places are all named after evil mega corp banks though[/QUOTE] That's because the United States is being sold to big corporations.

Comment by xAUGUSTUSx on 03-04-2012

Shaeffer is right. The Klitschko's are promoted very poorly in North America. Most people I talk to have no clue who they are. I live in a city where there is large Ukranian population yet nobody knows who they are.…

Comment by revs1227 on 03-04-2012

Great news for Me so close to home wooo

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (11)
Top Headlines Amir Khan Under Fire, Old Tweet Comes Back To Haunt Him Guillermo Jones Edges Perea For WBA Belt, Carlos Adames Wins Sergio Martinez Feels Brian Castano Should Stay Away From Lara Oscar Valdez's Manager To Meet With Top Rank, Discuss Big 2018 Constantin Bejenaru vs. Thabiso Mchunu - Undercard Information Tete's 11-Second KO of Gonya Quickest Ever in World Title Fight Kell Brook Backs Conor Benn To 'Carry The Flag' at Welterweight Joseph Parker Budges: I'll Take 35% To Fight Anthony Joshua Max Ornelas Gets Lopsided Win at WinnaVegas Casino Photos: Julian Williams Beats a Very Game Ishe Smith in Las Vegas Carl Frampton: The Team Can Decide My Next Opponent Gilberto Ramirez: I Must Be Better With Ahmed Than in Hart Fight Eleider Alvarez Gives The Latest on Adonis Stevenson Situation Kovalev Explains Why Leaving Jackson Was The Right Move Frank Warren: Frampton At Windsor Park Coming Next Summer Barker: Wilder Will Have Tough Time With Joshua's Skill Set Video: Julian Williams on Ishe Smith Win, Reacts To Trout, More Photos: Anthony Dirrell Edges Denis Douglin in Tough Bout Video: Austin Trout Talks Canelo-Golovkin, Williams, Hurd, More Video: Trainer Breaks Down Julian Williams Win Over Ishe Smith Bellew: I Can 100% Beat Parker, No Way Can He Deal With Joshua! De La Hoya: I Won't Chase McGregor, The Challenge Was Made! Mike Gavronski Wins WBA Regional Title, Beats Hernandez Oscar Vasquez, Gabriel Flores, Bruno Escalante Win in Reno Bryant Cruz Stops Luna: Micah, Lawson Pick Up Wins Deontay Wilder - From Mild-Mannered To Motormouth Ishe Smith: I Fought My Ass Off, The Judges Saw What They Saw De La Hoya: Canelo vs. Golovkin Rematch Will "Definitely Happen" Julian Williams Wins Tough Decision Over Ishe Smith Julian Williams vs. Ishe Smith - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lionell Thompson Drops, Shocks Earl Newman With Points Win Tugstsogt Nyambayar Gets Off The Floor, Decisions Dela Torre De La Hoya on McGregor: It Took Mayweather 10, I Only Need 2! Photos: Oscar De La Hoya Foundation Annual Turkey Giveaway Frampton: That Got The Cobwebs Off, Now I Want The Big Guys! Tomasz Adamek Decisions Fred Kassi Over Ten Rounds Carl Frampton Wins Tough Decision Over Horacio Garcia BWAA Announce a Women's Fighter of The Year Award Jerwin Ancajas Batters, Stops Jamie Conlan in Sixth Round Paddy Barnes Breaks Down, Stops Eliecer Quezada
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement