By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, is very annoyed with some of the recently published comments from Top Rank's CEO, Bob Arum, regarding his willingness to make a super-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
During an interview with USA Today, Arum said his company was ready and willing to make a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown, and he was waiting for someone on behalf of Mayweather to call his office.
"We've announced we're willing to make anything happen. Now somebody has got to contact us so we can sit down and explore how it can happen. Isn't that the way normal people deal? You can't wave a wand. I've said unequivocally, we're ready to sit down and see if a deal can be reached," Arum said.
In the opinion of Schaefer, Arum is using Mayweather's name for promotional purposes and has no intention of making the fight. Schaefer further indicates that if Arum was legitimately serious about making a deal, he would be the individual to pick up his phone - instead of "waiting to receive a call from the A-side."
Mayweather has made it clear to Golden Boy, according to Schaefer, that he doesn't have any intention of dealing with Arum or anyone else at Top Rank.
"What does Arum think that he's the godfather of boxing? Who the hell does he think he is? People have to come and call him and kiss his ring or kiss his ass. That's not going to happen. It's f***ing unheard of. And the same day you are reading on USA Today, that's he's willing to make a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. The same day, not a day later or a week later...but the same day - he announces that Pacquiao is going to fight on April 12th at the MGM against one of three names. All of these media members are being fooled by this idiot. They actually think he wants to put together a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"He's using Mayweather's name to drum up publicity of Pacquiao. When it is convenient for him, he uses Mayweather's name. Mayweather is pretty clear, as clear as it can be. He is not going to be dealing with Arum or Todd [duBoef] or anyone else over there. He doesn't need them. If you want Mayweather-Pacquiao, then okay. Make Pacquiao available and Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions will take care of everything."
"If you add up Pacquiao's last three pay-per-view numbers, I bet you Mayweather did more in one night [against Canelo] than Pacquiao did in three or maybe four fights. It's a fact. This is not like it was before. If Arum wants to step aside and let the fight happen - then great. We can do that. He's done that to us in the past where we had to step aside, because we wanted to do a fight and he had the A-side. Now it's the other way around. Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions are happy to do the fight."
Schaefer, along with Mayweather Promotions, are willing to offer Top Rank a replica of the exact terms that Arum presented to Golden Boy in order to make a fight between Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares.
They will pay Top Rank an agreed upon fee for the services of Pacquioao, and Top Rank's banner will be present on all of the promotional items - but Golden Boy and Mayweather's company will handle the entire promotion of the event.
"We are not looking to cut Arum out, this is not about not paying Bob. He can have his Top Rank logo on the banner, no problem. He can have a few seats, no problem. It's nothing to do with disrespecting, but if he thinks he's the driving force here - what f***ing arrogance does the guy have?," Schaefer said.
"We are using his blueprint. The same thing he said with Donaire, that Donaire was such a bigger star than Mares. Okay, you know what, we will use your own blueprint. And there is no disputing, no question that Mayweather is the number one star in the sport. Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the world. And with his TMT brand - he makes more money from the TMT brand than Pacquiao makes fighting. I've seen the numbers. TMT is one of the hottest apparel brands in the urban market today."
"We have been working with Floyd since 2007. We broke records together and broke our own records. We are all friends, our kids are friends, and we are like one big family. Arum can call whoever he wants to call, but it's not going to happen with him involved. He's irrelevant in the equation. Pacquiao is not the A-side, Mayweather is the A-side."
Pacquiao returned to the ring last month and won a twelve round unanimous decision over Brandon Rios in Macau, China. Arum told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated that the pay-per-view buyrate was between 500,000 to 550,000. Schaefer, however, told BoxingScene that he was told by sources in the pay-per-view industry that Pacquiao-Rios generated between 300,000 and 350,000.
"That whole China experience....I bet you that Pacquiao will never again fight in China. You know why? Because it was a flop. Arum is not gong to say it was a flop, but it was a flop. Look how quickly he changed his tune [about Pacquiao not fighting in America due to taxes]. The event was barely over and he was already announcing Pacquiao's next fight for the United States. It must not have been such a great experience," Schaefer said.
Schaefer says the low buyrate, for Pacquiao-Rios, is a reflection of the many fans who complained about the lackluster undercard.
"He talks about the production, how Top Rank's production is so great and better than HBO's production or anybody else. What is he talking about? Does he think people are going to watch the show because of the great lights? He should be better off on spending money on making the fights better. People wants to spend their money to watch good fights, not better lighting," Schaefer said.
"I haven't met anyone who said 'oh, you have to watch the pay-per-view because Top Rank's lighting, it's f***ing unbelievable." He should let HBO do the production, they do a perfectly fine job. And then he can spend the money he can save on making better fights. That's what I would do."
Outside of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, Arum told USA Today that boxing's growth has stalled in the United States, and because of that situation Top Rank has ventured overseas to explore markets in other countries.
"[America is] a good market, but it's certainly not growing. Boxing in the U.S. is largely dependent on two premium networks (HBO and Showtime). And as the (aging) audience for boxing begins to die out and is not replaced by the younger generation, which looks elsewhere for its sports, how long is the support from the premium networks going to last?," Arum said.
Schaefer was very offended by the comments. The Golden CEO disagrees with Arum's opinion. He believes the boxing market in America is getting bigger - noting the high attendance figures over the last year for numerous events in the United States and the high television ratings on HBO and Showtime.
"He says that boxing is pretty much become irrelevant in the United States and that's why he's going to China, Russia, the Ukraine and so on. It's funny how all of these fighters from Ukraine, and the Russian ones too, are all fighting in the United States. Let them fight over there if it's such a land of opportunity. The land of opportunity is still is, and always will be, in the United States," Schaefer said.
"I believe in the United States. I believe in boxing in the United States and obviously I'm not the only one. Look at some of those great ratings that Showtime did this year, three of their highest ratings in their history have been this year. Look at the great ratings HBO is doing, over 1.3 million for the fight last weekend. This is hardly a dying sport in America."
"My focus will always be on America, and I'm proud to have come here as an immigrant to become an American citizen. I believe in Americana, I believe in boxing in America and I will not rest until boxing is once again the greatest sport in the country. When you see these ratings, it's very encouraging when you see premium networks like Showtime and HBO, on a regular basis, having ratings in excess of a million homes. That is not a dying sport."