Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Martinez, More
By Robert Morales
One has to wonder how much pressure Richard Schaefer is under to pull some kind of a rabbit out of his hat regarding Floyd Mayweather Jr. By now, many in the industry are thinking that Mayweather might not need Schaefer and Golden Boy Promotions any longer, as rapper 50 Cent announced the formation of TMT Promotions, in which he is to collaborate with his good friend Mayweather.
Golden Boy has helped Mayweather promote his past six fights for a flat fee with no long-term contract. That means two things: Golden Boy has made money off Mayweather and understandably wants to make more, and there isn’t a thing it can do about it if Mayweather does the rest of his fighting business with TMT.
Even rival promoter Bob Arum has told us that if he were to negotiate with TMT, he would likely be able to make a fight between his fighter, Manny Pacquiao, and Mayweather. Indeed, the pressure is on. Schaefer is still not talking about it, and even getting just a bit huffy. We caught up to him on Tuesday and spoke about many things before the subject of Mayweather was broached. We weren’t done getting the words out, when Schaefer responded crisply.
“"I'’m not going to get into the Mayweather … Floyd Mayweather’s my friend and I’m not going to get caught up in all that media bulls**t,”" said Schaefer , CEO of Golden Boy.
Schaefer was told that this reporter doesn’t write bulls**t.
"I'’m not going to get involved in that,” he said. “You can certainly ask the question, but I’m not going to get involved.”"
We tried to ask Schaefer if he has had any contact with Mayweather after his recent release from county jail. But it was obvious he wants no part of talking about it.
Speaking of Pacquiao
We tried to get a hold of Top Rank Inc. chairman Arum the past two days, but those efforts did not bear fruit. According to Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels, Arum is spending some time off with his wife, Lovee. Arum, of course, was in the Philippines recently to talk to Pacquiao about his next opponent in November.
Arum previously told BoxingScene.com that the options were a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez or a rematch with either Timothy Bradley or Miguel Cotto. However, there has been speculation that Pacquiao might not fight in November and instead wait for the spring and a fight with Mayweather.
Samuels dispelled that notion a bit when he told us that Pacquiao has told Arum that he will be fighting in November [on the 10th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas].
DiBella the fortunate one
The first time promoter Lou DiBella saw a tape of a Sergio Martinez fight, he “was so shocked this guy was out there a free agent.”
That was in 2007. DiBella signed Martinez to a contract. Martinez, of Argentina, had yet to win a major world title. In five years with DiBella Entertainment, he first won an interim junior middleweight title, then took Kelly Pavlik'’s two middleweight belts and subsequently defended one of them with a spectacular second-round knockout of Paul Williams in November 2010.
Although Martinez lost both of his belts via governing body politics, he has won three more fights since the Williams drubbing – over Sergiy Dzinziruk, Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. All three were stopped inside the distance.
Martinez has gone from relative unknown, to one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
"“I didn'’t have an idea that he'’d be this good, like one of the top two or three pound-for-pound,”" said DiBella, who will be on hand Sept. 15 when Martinez challenges Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico for his middleweight title at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on
HBO pay-per-view). "“But I knew he’d be a world champion, I knew he could be a star, I knew he had all the ingredients. I knew that he had to be moved quickly because he was already in his 30's."
Martinez is now 37, but he has not displayed any real signs of slowing. DiBella was asked what makes him so special.
“"Well, I think he'’s just a pure athlete and I think his instincts in his way of fighting are not really teachable,” DiBella said. “"I think he’s in that category with like a Roy Jones and many of the other greats of all time in that he’s kind of a singular kind of athlete and you can’t teach what he knows.
"“I think it’s his athletic ability that differentiates him. He does things other people simply can’t do. The other thing is, I think his personality, his philanthropy.
DiBella noted that Martinez regularly speaks out against domestic violence and bullying.
"He spends an awful lot of his free time and energy championing those causes,"” DiBella said.
DiBella has been promoting boxing for 11 years. He’s had a lot of fighters during that time. None as good as Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KOs).
"“He’s the best,"” DiBella said.
That doesn’t mean DiBella isn’t just a bit worried about the fight with Chavez (46-0-1, 32 KOs).
"“I think I have the much more skilled fighter, but the other guy’s very young and the thing that concerns me is the size differential and the weight differential,”" DiBella said. “Chavez, I’ve never heard of a guy going from 160 at a weigh-in to 180 practically every time he fights.
"“Sergio is probably going to weigh about 15 pounds less in the fight; that’s a cause for concern. Obviously, youth is on the side of Chavez. What do I expect? I think I have the better fighter and I expect Sergio to win in a tough fight.”"
This fight is being co-promoted by Top Rank, which promotes Chavez, and DiBella Entertainment. The aforementioned Samuels said 14,000 tickets have already been sold.
Sanchez just a bit high on Golovkin
Abel Sanchez has been training Gennady Golovkin for the better part of three years. A little over a year ago, he sent an email to yours truly, talking about Golovkin and his opinion that the middleweight champion from Kazakhstan was going to be a superstar. Sanchez is not one of those boastful trainers when assessing one of his fighters, so it was worth taking note.
Golovkin had already won the championship, and has made three title defenses since Sanchez made that statement. Thankfully, Golovkin is going to fight in the U.S. for the first time when he squares off with No. 3-ranked Grzegorz Proksa of Poland on Sept. 1 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y. Even better, HBO is going to televise it. Now we can all see what Sanchez is talking about.
During a telephone conversation this week, Sanchez could not say enough about how dynamic the 30-year-old Golovkin can be. After a 300-plus amateur bout career highlighted by a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Games, Golovkin has knocked out nearly 87 percent of his opponents as a pro. He has five first-round knockouts, four in the second.
“"There’s one thing that I can’t teach, and I don’t think any coach can teach, is punching power. He was born with that gift,”" Sanchez said.
A gift that only enhances what Sanchez believes is the ultimate total package.
“"If there are five qualities you look for in a fighter, he’'s got all five of them,” Sanchez said. “First of all, he’'s extremely smart in the ring. He’s got 350 amateur fights and five losses. And I think that’s one of his biggest assets."
"Second on the list, Sanchez said Golovkin has athletic legs that allow him the proper positioning and leverage for punching. “Three, he’s got great punching power with either hand,"” Sanchez said. “
"He'’s got a good chin. In 350 amateur fights, he’'s never been on the deck. In 26 pro fights, he’s never been on the deck. And I think the most important one is he’s willing to work to get what he feels he has coming to him."
Sanchez then used a cliché, and apologized for it – sort of.
“"He'’s the first one in the gym, the last one to go,” said Sanchez, whose sprawling training camp is in Big Bear, Calif. "“I know everyone says that quote. But if you come up and look or ask anyone that works out with him, this guy’s an animal. He'’s a horse. They call him
The thing is Golovkin has great numbers, but against competition not known all that well in these parts. One of his title defenses came against former junior middleweight champion Kassim Ouma in June 2011 in Panama. But Ouma has lost six of his past eight, so that’'s nothing to brag about. His most recent defense came against Makoto Fuchigami of Japan last May in the Ukraine. Golovkin stopped Fuchigami, ranked No. 15 by the WBA, in the third round.
Sanchez said that it has been difficult to get opponents for Golovkin. He said he personally called Golden Boy Promotions to see if No. 4-ranked Peter Quillin wanted the fight before it was offered to Fuchigami. Sanchez said, “They told me that he wasn’t ready.”
Sanchez said others either passed, had excuses to turn the fight down or priced themselves out of it.
Sergio Mora wanted over $200,000,” Sanchez said. “They’re not saying they don’t want it, they’'re saying, ‘We’re going to price ourselves out and there’s no way I’m going to get the fight.’ Andy Lee didn’t want the fight.”
Golovkin was originally slated to fight fellow champion Dmitry Pirog, but Pirog pulled out with a back injury. Sanchez is hopeful that a win over Proksa will either put Pirog back in the picture, or perhaps a fight with the winner of Chavez-Martinez will come to fruition.
One thing’s for sure, Sanchez seems to have no doubt about Golovkin.
"“When I wrote you that letter, he was better than Terry Norris ever was with me,” said Sanchez, who trained Norris for nine of his junior middleweight title defenses back in the early ‘90s. “He’'s sparring with cruiserweights and heavyweights. I can’'t spar him with junior middleweights or middleweights. Saturday, he weighed 163. He'’s that already. He can make 154. This kid is unbelievable. He’'s just …wow.”"
Schaefer gets in a jab
Schaefer seemed to be somewhat amused by Sanchez mentioning his offer to Quillin. Schaefer noted that first of all, it wasn'’t he who Sanchez spoke with at Golden Boy.
Secondly, he believes Golovkin still has some things to do before he can expect to get what he wants.
" “He should work on building up his exposure, have some signature wins here, something in the U.S.,” Schaefer said. “And then maybe down the road you can see a fight against some of the other middleweights, be it against Peter Quillin, or against the winner of Martinez-Chavez, or whatever. But I think what he needs to do is he needs to go to his promoter, which I believe is K-2 Promotions (owned by the Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko), and he needs to get some exposure."
“"The Klitschkos maybe need to be a bit more behind him and push him, expose him. Maybe if the Klitschkos fight in the U.S., put Golovkin on the card. They need to basically do a better job promoting him so he can get some of those more meaningful fights. Just because you’'re a good fighter, which I hear he is, that doesn’t mean, ‘Hey, I’'m here, I’'m a great fighter, I want to fight this guy or I want to fight that guy.’ It doesn’t work like that."
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.