By Robert Morales
Mike Criscio, manager of Chad Dawson, told this reporter last week that Joe Calzaghe will come out of retirement to fight Dawson before Bernard Hopkins will step into the ring with Dawson because Hopkins is simply afraid of Dawson.
Well, for those thinking Criscio's bait will result in a Hopkins-Dawson fight, forget about it. That idea was shot down Wednesday with some heavy artillery from Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. And not because of any fear Hopkins might have of Dawson, but because Schaefer is scared stiff at the thought of how poor the ticket sales might be because of Dawson's inability to attract paying customers.
“I don't think Bernard Hopkins has been afraid of anybody his entire career,” Schaefer told BoxingScene.com; Hopkins is promoted by Golden Boy and is a partner in the company. “One thing Bernard has always done, he has fought everyone and has never turned down any fights.”
Since Hopkins is 44, Schaefer said that if he does fight again, it will probably be just one more time.
“Bernard deserves and has earned the right to fight on his own terms and if people – the opponent, the manager, other promoters – don't like those terms, that's fine, move on,” Schaefer said. “If he is going to fight again, he wants to make a substantial payday and, unfortunately, with Dawson that's not possible because the guy doesn't really sell a ticket.
“You saw it at The Joint in Las Vegas with only a few hundred paid customers.”
A spokesman working last Saturday's fight between Dawson and Antonio Tarver inside The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino said about 2,100 fans were on hand. That may be true, but we found out from the Nevada State Athletic Commission that the paid gate only generated $170,280.
To illustrate how bad that was, only 1,426 tickets were actually sold, with 1,309 going unsold. Those numbers are indisputable. And this was for a light heavyweight title fight.
A spokesman for the commission, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the gate receipts were some off the lowest – if not the lowest – seen for an HBO-televised fight in recent memory.
So even though a fight between Dawson and Hopkins would pit arguably the two best light heavyweights in the world, we are probably not going to get that. Schaefer said that besides monetary consideration, Hopkins wants a challenge of historical significance. Fights with either cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek or heavyweight contender David Haye would provide that, Schaefer said.
Schaefer said Adamek's team has already turned down an offer of $1.2 million to fight Hopkins.
“So I guess he prefers to fight on ShoBox on Friday,” Schaefer said of Adamek, who will defend his title against Matt Godfrey on July 10.
As for Haye, he will be challenging Wladimir Klitschko for his heavyweight championship belts on June 20 in Germany.
“If Bernard would go and beat an Adamek, who is the cruiserweight champion, that would be moving up to 200 pounds to do that,” Schaefer told BoxingScene. “That would be historically significant. If he would fight and beat David Haye for the heavyweight championship, that would be historically significant.”
Another Episode of, “As the Commission Turns”
Schaefer on Wednesday had a terse response to the charge by fellow promoter Dan Goossen that Peter Lopez should have recused himself during a February vote to decide whether the California State Athletic Commission should re-arbitrate a 2008 hearing centered on former featherweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.
The commission in mid-December voted in favor of Guerrero, who wanted to be freed from his promotional contract with Goossen Tutor Promotions. Guerrero claimed his contract with Goossen had run its five-year course. He also contended that Goossen violated the Muhammad Ali Act as it pertains to monies disclosed. Goossen denied those charges and said Guerrero agreed to an extension of his contract because of injuries he sustained.
Goossen's contention at the February hearing of the commission was that Armando Garcia had been the arbitrator and that he and only he should have signed off on it. Garcia resigned his post as executive director of the commission on Nov. 18, but there is proof that he was still available to the commission until Dec. 31.
Instead the decision was signed Dec. 12 by Garcia's assistant and current acting executive director Bill Douglas, who was not even at the original arbitration hearing that took place over two days – one in July and one in September.
Goossen on March 25 filed a “Petition to Vacate Arbitration” in Los Angeles Superior Court contending in part that Garcia was the only one qualified to sign the decision he presided over. The petition is filed against Guerrero and Goossen is seeking to have the
arbitration hearing started from scratch.
The February commission meeting in question was the same day Antonio Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, had their licenses revoked for illegal hand wraps. After that five-plus hour hearing, another item on the agenda read, “Ratification of Arbitration Decision – Goossen/Guerrero.”
Schaefer said the word “ratification” gave him the idea that this was just a formality. He said he had no idea that Goossen was going to try to get the commission to vote to re-arbitrate based on Garcia not signing the decision.
Schaefer said had he known, he would have made sure Guerrero, his manager Shelly Finkel, and lawyer Bruce Zabarauskas were there as well.
Be that as it may, Schaefer said that commissioner Howard Rose made a motion to re-arbitrate but that only one other commissioner seconded that motion. Schaefer said that Lopez then made the motion to confirm the arbitration decision and that two other commissioners agreed.
At that point it was up to chairman Tim Noonan. Schaefer said Noonan voted for the Goossen side, making the vote 3-3. Another commissioner, June Collison, had been excused for the day and did not vote.
The commission put off the matter until April, but before anything else happened the commission washed its hands of it, saying it no longer had jurisdiction over the matter and that Goossen would have to go to court for any relief. That, he has done. Depositions should be taking place soon.
But it was Michael Swann of BoxingScene.com who in the aftermath of that February hearing wrote that Lopez had been given an award by the Oscar De La Hoya Youth Foundation in 2004. Goossen saw this as a conflict of interest and said that Lopez should have recused himself from that vote because of his relationship with De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, which signed Guerrero to a promotional contract immediately following Guerrero's arbitration victory in December.
Interestingly, Rose has an even closer relationship to Golden Boy than Lopez, Schaefer said. But of course, Schaefer said, Goossen never beefed about Rose not recusing himself because Rose voted Goossen's way.
“Goossen comes and says publicly and in interviews that Peter Lopez should have excused himself because he has a relationship with Golden Boy because he was the recipient of an Oscar De La Hoya trophy like four or five years ago, long before he was on the commission,” Schaefer said.
“Interestingly, I am sure that Goossen knows exactly that Howard Rose was Oscar De La Hoya's promoter when Oscar was promoted by Jerry Perenchio (for two fights in 2001). We have a much closer relationship with Howard Rose than we've ever had with Peter Lopez.
“Peter Lopez never benefited in any way financially with De La Hoya, but Howard Rose did because he was Oscar's promoter. Funny enough, Goossen wants to have Peter Lopez excused. But of course, conveniently nobody mentions Howard Rose, who was much more associated with Oscar than Peter Lopez ever was.
“If anybody was to excuse himself, it should have been Howard Rose. But, obviously, he was the one who brought up the motion in favor of Goossen.”
Schaefer said he has smoked cigars with Rose, that he has a solid relationship with him. But he said he has never even had Lopez over for dinner.
“If you are going to say Peter Lopez should be excused, then there is no question Howard Rose should have been excused,” Schaefer said. “But of course Dan Goossen is not going to say Howard Rose should be excused.
If they both excused themselves, it still would have ended up being a tied vote because they washed each other. It's just a bunch of bulls**t from Goossen.”
Goossen was reached Wednesday in Oakland, where he is promoting Saturday's fight between Andre Ward and Edison Miranda. Goossen was adamant when he said he had no idea about Rose's relationship with Golden Boy.
"I didn't know the relationship with either guy at the time,” Goossen said. “There was nothing for me to sit there and say that one or the other should have recused himself because I wasn't aware of it.”
Goossen said that perhaps both Lopez and Rose should have stated for the record that day that they do have a relationship with Golden Boy, being that it is Golden Boy who stood to win or lose depending on the outcome of the vote. Goossen said that would particularly have to be the case regarding Lopez, who voted against Goossen and,
essentially, for Golden Boy.
As for Rose, Goossen applauded him for his objectivity.
“It would be a great indication to me that Howard Rose stood up for right and wrong, so my hat is off,” Goossen said. “He is not under scrutiny because his vote was one I believe bore out the facts.”
Efforts to reach Douglas, who is in his last days as acting executive officer because he is making a lateral move, have been unsuccessful.
A Continuing Saga
Dean Lohuis had been an inspector for the California commission for over 20 years when he was fired last month for cause. What the cause was is still unclear, and even Lohuis isn't saying. But he did tell us Friday that he is not going to take this lying down.
Lohuis was the third veteran California inspector to recently be canned – the others being Joe Borelli and Woody Woodward.
“It is shocking,” Lohuis said. “There is something definitely wrong. I didn't do anything wrong. There has got to be some ulterior motive. They didn't pick an executive officer, which is shameful. They have people running the ship who don't know what they are doing.
"I am going to try to get back. I didn't deserve this.”
Lohuis said the commission fired three very knowledgeable inspectors for no reason.
"There is nobody that has more experience in this business than all of us three,” Lohuis said. “There is something going on. If my lawyer decides to let me talk about this, I think people will be shocked.”
The three who have been tabbed as finalists to become the next executive officer of the commission are Pat Russell, Ron Arnold and Ron Stevens.
Interestingly, got an e-mail from someone close to the situation who said he would be happy to speak off the record about everything going on with the commission and the state Consumer Affairs division, the umbrella under which the commission operates.
Heck, if people aren't willing to speak on the record about the problems of a commission that does more business than any in the union, it's never going to get fixed.
Now, For Some Feel-Good News
Yonnhy Perez has been living in the United States for four years, after moving from his native Cartagena, Colombia to pursue his professional career.
Perez, 30, has the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him as he will take on Silence Mabuza (22-2, 18 KOs) in a bantamweight title elimination fight May 29 in Mabuza's native South Africa.
Perez lives in Santa Fe Springs, which is about 10 miles or so from Los Angeles. He lives with his trainer, Danny Zamora, and his family. And pretty much every cent Perez makes is sent back to his family in Cartagena. That includes his wife and two kids and his parents and siblings.
Perez said Tuesday he wouldn't have it any other way because of the rough road his family has had to take under scary conditions.
“Colombia's infamous for all the drug cartels, but just like in any other big town there are the nice areas and the rough areas,” said Perez, who is co-promoted by Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing Promotions.
“We lived in the rough, poor area. There was drugs, there were a lot of gangs. As a matter of fact, all the gang members that were in my neighborhood, I knew them, they were all friends of mine.
“I never had any problems with any of them. I got out of there because of the sport of boxing with the thought of always doing something better for my family, like my parents did. All four of us brothers are clean. And it's because of the strong upbringing that my parents had on all of us.
“I have two kids – Yonnhy and Mateo – which I have to provide for. And I want to give them a better life than what I had. I come from a very poor neighborhood with a lot of problems, a lot of violence, a lot of drugs, a lot of gangs. But luckily everything turned out good for me.”
Perez (18-0, 13 KOs) has been able to purchase two homes in his homeland with the money he has made in the ring.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, and BoxingScene.com