By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, sat down with BoxingScene.com to discuss one of the biggest news stories in the last few years - Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s decision to leave HBO and sign a very lucrative multi-fight agreement with Showtime/CBS. Schaefer's company works very closely with Mayweather and co-promoted his last six fights. And Golden Boy will co-promote his Showtime debut, on pay-per-view, when Mayweather defends his WBC welterweight title against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero on May 4th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Schaefer also gives his thoughts on the future of Golden Boy's relationship with HBO, Adrien Broner's potential role as an HBO superstar and whether or not the Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Austin Trout will be finalized as the pay-per-view co-feature to Mayweather-Guerrero.
BoxingScene.com: How big of an impact on the entire boxing landscape is the deal between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Showtime/CBS?
Schaefer: I think it’s a big deal, but it’s not an unexpected deal because Floyd Mayweather has been the highest paid athlete in the world, so forget those soccer players, race car drivers, basketball and baseball players - Floyd Mayweather is one who reigns supreme on top of the list of the highest paid athletes. I'm very happy for Floyd and for his family, that he was able to enter into a very well deserved deal.
As it relates to the landscape for boxing, I think we are very fortunate in the United States that we have two networks, Showtime and HBO, which are premium buyers for boxing content. We are fortunate as well because we are working with both [of them]. We just had one of the future stars of the sport, Adrien Broner, fight this past weekend [on HBO] and win in a thrilling performance. But obviously for Showtime to land Floyd Mayweather - this is a statement that Showtime is here and a significant player in the sport of boxing. I think competition is good.
BoxingScene.com: Was the Showtime deal the main reason it took so long to officially announce this fight?
Schaefer: Anyone who knows Floyd knows that he is a very loyal person...he really is. From all of the people I know, he is one of the most loyal and most sincere people that I know. Behind closed doors when you talk to him, he is a different person, a very caring individual and a great father. My kids know his kids very well. He's a terrific guy. So for him, it took him a while to make sure that he's going to make the right decision. Because the fact is he's been with HBO for so long and he wanted to make sure that he was making the right decision. And that's why it took a while, because he didn’t take this [decision] lightly.
The deal structure that was offered by Showtime/CBS really redefines the pay-per-view business in itself. I think it is an evolution of the pay-per-view model that has been in force since the days of Don King, Bob Arum and I think it was [HBO Sports head] Seth Abraham back then with TVKO, which then later on evolved as the HBO pay-per-view model. This is totally different, this is really taking the financial benefits of a pay-per-view agreement to a totally different level and its really groundbreaking from the structure in itself to the promotional elements that are going to be working out. There will be additional press releases and news flashes coming in the weeks leading up to May 4th, but I can assure you that May 4th will be the biggest night of boxing from top to bottom.
BoxingScene.com: You have a close relationship with Floyd and you also have a close relationship with Showtime. Do you think HBO might hold a grudge against all of the parties involved, because of this deal?
Schaefer: I can’t speak for HBO so I can’t really say that [they will or they won't]. Everybody was given a fair chance [to make a deal with Mayweather]. I'm sure they are upset about it and I would be upset about it as well. But the fact is, Golden Boy has the best young stable of fighters. Guys who could really fight like Lucas Matthysse, or an Abner Mares, Adrien Broner….and you can pretty much go through the weight classes. We are not afraid of putting those guys in with anyone. We have the best young stable. With our legends we have the past with Oscar [De La Hoya] and all of those guys, we also have the present and we have the future - and we are without question the most capitalized business in the sport of boxing. We are young and we are here to stay
I’ll be happy to continue working with HBO. And I would hope that HBO would want to make sure that some of those names, whether it be Adrien Broner or so on, would be available to their subscribers. I don’t think that they would want to have, out of personal ill will......that they're going to want to be stuck with a Jessie Vargas on their network. They are actually going to have some real fighters [by continuing to work with Golden Boy]. I’ll be happy to work with them and sit down with them and work on the future. I think they are smart enough to realize that.
There are two ways to deal with this. For HBO, they can say f*** them and I'm not going to deal with Golden Boy anymore and [boxing adviser Al] Haymon. They can take that position. Or they can say 'it’s time to sit down with those guys and work out deals for their fighters to ensure that we have some of the deep talent pool that they have. I don’t know which avenue or which way HBO will choose. So far I haven’t received a call. I don’t know which one it’s going to be. Whichever [decision] it’s going to be is okay, because this is a business which is driven by talent and as I said before - our talent compared to anyone else - we clearly have the deepest stable.
We are not afraid to pay significant money to sign promotional free agents and come up with deal structures that are beneficial to our fighters who are under contract with Golden Boy - and that's why everyone wants to be with Golden Boy.
BoxingScene.com: Is there any truth to the rumor of HBO signing Adrien Broner to a multi-fight agreement?
Schaefer: I actually suggested it to them. I said ‘look, I am open to doing a multi-fight deal with you guys and Adrien Broner.' I think it is important for them to show Adrien Broner some love and I don’t mean by just putting on his fights. Maybe put together a 24/7 on Adrien Broner. Put marketing muscle behind Adrien Broner. Similar to what they’re doing with the countdown show for Brandon Rios and Alvarado. I think HBO is going to have to show Adrien Broner that they are considering him as one of the franchise players [on their network]. Adrien and [Golden Boy] are willing to agree to a multi-fight deal structure with HBO.
I think that shows our good faith that we're willing to put forward but we have to see if they are going to be able to step it up. And if they are stepping it up and if they are going to be putting major marketing elements and promotional elements behind Adrien Broner, then Adrien and [Golden Boy] would be happy to commit to HBO as well.
BoxingScene.com: When we spoke a few weeks ago about the possibility of making a fight between Canelo and Trout, you said the likelihood of that fight happening [on May 4] wasn't that good. Has that position changed at this point in time?
Schaefer: Right now there are four names that we’re looking at and it’s an open secret that Canelo's first choice is Austin Trout. It is an extremely, in my opinion, an extremely, extremely dangerous fight. I think it’s a mega pay-per-view on its own. And when I say mega pay-per-view, with the Canelo vs. Trout fight you could generate $10 to $15 million dollars in pay-per-view revenue.
Mayweather and Guerrero is a major, major pay-per-view - which is going to do a million and a half [pay-per-view buys] or more. Now if you add to that, Canelo and Austin Trout - it would be without question the most expensive night that boxing has ever seen - and on fight night the media can go and add together the [purse figures on the] bout agreements which are public in Las Vegas.
I don’t want to be overconfident because it’s not easy to pull these things off. Canelo has given me my marching orders [to get Trout] but I couldn’t really do much until I had the Mayweather piece done. And now I can focus on the Camelo piece and see where it leads us. But there are a number of names at 154 who would love to fight Canelo. We just have to see in the end what can be done.