By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer is not paying attention to the promoters, and the writers, who are criticizing his business relationship with Showtime.
Schaefer is no stranger to being criticized over a business deal with a television network. When he made an output deal with HBO, under the reign of former HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg - both Golden Boy and Greenburg were under heavy fire by other promoters and certain members of the press.
Last year, the entire playing field changed.
Greenburg was forced to resign last July and he was later replaced by Ken Hershman, who left his position as the executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports.
In turn, Showtime announced last November that Stephen Espinoza was hired to replace Hershman.
Espinoza's hire drew immediate criticism because he was the longtime lead attorney for Golden Boy.
Since the start of the year, Golden Boy has been conducting a lot more business with Showtime. Several Golden Boy fighters began to cross over to Showtime's airwaves.
The biggest crossover will take place on September 15th, when Golden Boy's biggest star, WBC 154-pound champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, will make his Showtime televised debut against Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Golden Boy's competitors have taken notice of the growing relationship with Showtime. And some of those competitors, both publicly and privately, have expressed concerns regarding what they firmly believe to be a certain level of favoritism being extended to Golden Boy from Showtime.
Tensions have certainly been raised, on a business level, with the head to head battle on September 15th.
On the same night as Canelo-Lopez, and only two miles down the road, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will defend his WBC middleweight championship against Sergio Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center. Top Rank will stage the show and HBO pay-per-view will carry it.
Schaefer spoke to BoxingScene.com about his relationship with the networks, his response to some of the public comments from his competitors, and more.
BoxingScene.com: With the entire head to head scenario, is your relationship strained at all with HBO?
Schaefer: No. People run their business. I don't want to get caught up in the strained this or strained that. I do my fights, I do my business. I talk to people. Someone wants to buy a fight, great. They don't want to buy a fight, don't.
BoxingScene.com: Feelings on the day to day articles being written regarding the head to head battle on September 15th.
Schaefer: Honestly, we just go about our business and that has served us well. There is a reason why we are the most active and the biggest boxing promoter in the world, because we just go about our business. I don't care about the gossip with he said that and she said that..... That's why these reporters that are getting caught up in that bullsh*t, honestly I don't have time [for them].
We have 104 televised events this year. Do you think I have time to talk to those reporters who want that bullsh*t in those blogs and creating these controversies and stories and so on. The only thing I'm focused on is Golden Boy and our fighters and keeping them busy. You look at our stable and how busy we keep them...who wouldn't want to be a Golden Boy fighter? We pay them right, we keep them busy and we give them the opportunities. There are plenty and plenty and plenty of examples.
What do I do? I spend my time getting the dates, getting the fights and getting additional TV dates. Watch and see, do you think that I'm going to stop at 104? I'm not going to stop at 104. I'm going to get more [TV dates]. That's what I'm focused on.
BoxingScene.com: Response to the recent criticisms regarding his business relationship with Showtime.
Schaefer: You know what, I don't get caught up in that. I have a great relationship with our partners, the TV partners, the sponsors, the venue partners. When you do deliver fight after fight, event after event to somebody - I do hope that you get some preferential treatment. It would not be normal [if that didn't happen].
When Gary Shaw had all of the Showtime dates. And when [Don] King and [Bob] Arum, in the 1920s, had their respective networks. One was with Showtime and one was with HBO...nobody said anything. But then I go and do an output deal with HBO and everybody gets pissed off and in an uproar. Some people even get Ross Greenburg fired....some other promoters and so on, some writers, get Ross Greenburg fired. Some of the people at HBO didn't see through that.
Then the landscape changed and now I don't have an output deal with anybody. Now I do a lot of business with Showtime and I still do a lot of business with HBO. Now suddenly [they say] 'look at him now, he's got Showtime.' Sh*t, they were on my case when I had HBO, now they are on my case when I have Showtime. What the hell? Half of these people who worry 'what is Schaefer going to do next.' They should worry about what they are going to do next. That's what they should focus on.
I'm telling you, I have some stuff coming that is going to shake everyone in their boots. I am far from done. If they want to worry about something, don't worry about what TV networks I'm working with now - they should worry about what TV networks that I'll be working with next.
Tags: HBO , Showtime , Ross Greenburg , Richard Schaefer , Golden Boy Promotions