By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com spoke with Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, to get his thoughts regarding Manny Pacquiao's controversial decision loss to Timothy Bradley from this past Saturday night in Las Vegas. Schaefer also gave his take on why a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch is a bad idea for the sport. And he also discusses whether or not the Bradley defeat will affect future negotiations for a possible mega-fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts on the fight.
Schaefer: Obviously a horrible decision and I think everybody knows that Pacquiao won. I refuse to believe that there is any corruption, the corruption theory. I think it's just judges that are maybe at the point where they should retire. I think that's what it is, and unfortunately we are seeing recently more of these decisions and most of the time you have judges which are close to their eighties or in their eighties and maybe they shouldn't judge anymore.
Ultimately, the athletic commissions have to educate and find judges to bring the next generation of judges along and [make sure] they are better equipped to handle their responsibilities.
BoxingScene.com: Schaefer expresses his frustration pertaining to a widely circulated quote from Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank, the company that promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley.
Schaefer: I think the thing which really bothered me, and I think a lot of fans picked up on that, from Arum - where he said 'well, I disagree with the judges and I'm outraged' - which is fair and a good comment, but then he goes on to say 'I am going to make a lot of money in the rematch.' He doesn't say Bradley or Pacquiao is going to make a lot of money, [Arum says] 'I am going to make a lot of money in the rematch.'
So for people to read that...and it was in all the newspapers and everywhere you see that quote, so a lot of fans picked up on that. That was an idiotic comment to make. Because who the hell cares at this point about making money. This is now about the credibility of the sport. If you have somebody like Arum making these kinds of comments, then I think it's totally out of place.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts on a possible Pacquiao-Bradley rematch.
Schaefer: I do think as well that there will be zero appetite for a rematch. What we saw as well, on Saturday night, Bradley has no power and if you have no power it's going to be very difficult to fend off Pacquiao. It was difficult or impossible Saturday night and Bradley is not suddenly going to have more power in November. I just don't think there is any appetite to do that fight again. I think Pacquiao should move on and Bradley should move on and fight different opponents. Because if you're going to do a rematch, then you are basically going to bring all of that negativity of that first decision, that horrible decision, you are going to bring it fresh into people's minds.
I think it's going to be a hard-sell. It's going to be an impossible sell, because I really haven't heard anybody or read anywhere...anybody, not fans or media members...anybody, that they are interested in a rematch. Nobody needs to see it.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts on the critics who claim the sport is going to die because of last Saturday's outcome.
Schaefer: First of all , there are immediately these people out there who say this is a death spell for boxing and these kinds of things. Unfortunately, and not just in boxing but in other sports as well, once in a while you get bad decisions. For example, Golden Boy alone does over 100 televised events this year. If you take that, 6 or 7 fights on each card and you have 600 or 700 fights....if you have there a couple of bad decisions, then you have to put that into the context of the volume of fights which are happening. That doesn't excuse in any way or shape what's going on here.
Obviously this was a very high visibility event. And at a high visibility event, you really need to put on an A-list of judges and refs because the whole world is watching. There needs to be much more focus and much more attention needs to be paid on who the judges are. Somebody who has judged 200 championships fights before, well maybe that's a sign that they should stop because they are just too old to do the job. That goes with everybody. I am 51 and I'm starting to need glasses. That's just the way it is, its just natural.
BoxingScene.com: Does the outcome hurt a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?
Schaefer: As I said before, if Bob Arum wants to sit down and discuss a fight, I'm certainly open to do that...no problem. Again, I am convinced, as I was before the fight and as I am now, that it is not a fight that Bob Arum wants. My opinion is not going to change and he can prove me wrong.
BoxingScene.com: You have stood firm with Mayweather's position to refuse Pacquiao's request for a 50-50 financial split. Does Saturday's loss affect Pacquiao's position to secure that split?
Schaefer: I believe that it wasn't a 50-50 fight before and my opinion has not changed. To go and say 'now you lost' and things like that....I don't really want to use that argument to be fair. I think you really have to look at the revenues that Floyd Mayweather generates and take it into the context of the revenues that Manny Pacquioao generates and that's how you determine a fair split. That was my opinion before and that's not going to change because of Pacquiao getting the short end of the decision.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts regarding what Pacquiao should do in response to a possible rematch with Bradley.
Schaefer: I think it's going to be up to Manny Pacquiao to say "I don't really want to fight Bradley again.' But unfortunately Manny Pacquiao has let Bob Arum dictate on who he fights. I think its time for Manny Pacquiao to say 'hey look Bob, with all due respect, I have nothing to prove in a Timothy Bradley rematch. I don't want the fight. The fans, the networks, the sponsors, the venues - nobody wants the fight.' Sometimes you might say, well controversy sells, but the thing is here there was no controversy. Nobody wants to see that again. Is there anybody in their clear mind who is going to give Timothy Bradley a chance in the rematch? I doubt very much so because you saw what happened on Saturday night.. I'm not trying to knock Timothy Bradley. He is a talented fighter but its a silly thing to go do a rematch.
I really believe that time has come for Manny Pacquiao to stand up to Bob and says 'this is what I want. I want to do what I want and not what you want.' This is not about Bob Arum making a lot of money, as Bob himself stated. This should be about the sport. And if Bob is only in it [for] 'how can I make a lot of money' then that is exactly what hurts the sport. And that's why when you read the blog sites and the websites and the feedback from the fans, you know the negativity and frankly the hostility the fans are displaying towards Bob. These kinds of comments - 'I am going to make a lot of money. This is not about Bob Arum making a lot of money. Its is about giving the fight fans what they want to see and the sport what it wants to see. And the sport and the fight fans, the last thing they want to see is a rematch with Bradley. There are a lot of good fights out there and I don't think a rematch is the answer to deal with this situation.