By Robert Morales
It wasn't too long after Floyd Mayweather Jr. tweeted the news about his next opponent, when Richard Schaefer returned a phone call we had made seeking comment.
Knowing that Schaefer - CEO of Golden Boy Promotions - is a promoter, it's understandable that he is going to hype the news as much as possible since his company is so heavily involved.
He went big on the heavy-handed Marcos Maidana, who will take on Mayweather on May 3, probably at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view).
"He has that one thing that I call a game-changer," Schaefer said of Maidana, "which is his punch. On May 3, he is going to try to do that, he is going to try to change the legacy of Floyd Mayweather."
Schaefer was bold, saying of Mayweather:"He has to fight the perfect fight. Is he going to fight the perfect fight? Yes, he is. He is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But for that split moment, if Maidana connects, what's going to happen?"
Schaefer, who was animated, tried to keep it real.
"Maidana has the best knockout percentage (81.5 percent) of any fighter Mayweather has ever fought," he said. "But you still have to be able to touch Mayweather and he is the defensive wizard."
If people think this fight might be a stinker, they won't buy it, so you can expect to hear a lot more of that from Schaefer during the promotion. But who's to say he's wrong in his assessment, even though the internet airwaves have been filled with sarcasm since this fight was announced via Mayweather's Twitter account?
It was Maidana who finally took young Adrien Broner and shut him up for the first time in his career, decking Broner twice on his way to an impressive unanimous decision in December in San Antonio, taking Broner's welterweight belt that will be on the line when he takes on Mayweather in this unification bout.
Well, again, you will hear a lot of that, too, from those trying to sell this fight for what is bound to be upwards of 70 bones. Bottom line is, Broner never was - and likely never will be - Floyd Mayweather Jr. You know how they say that hitting a Major League fastball is the hardest thing to do in sports? Landing a clean shot on Mayweather has got to be right up there, and Maidana will likely find that out.
The alternative was Khan, and that could have been a bore
OK, so we all know by now how upset Amir Khan is with Team Mayweather for pushing him aside for Maidana. But if you ask Abel Sanchez, boxing fans are lucky it
turned out that way. Sanchez, the trainer for middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, thinks like a lot of us do - styles make fights. In his mind, Mayweather-Khan would have been less pleasing to the eye.
At first, we asked Sanchez if he thought this was at all a dangerous fight for Mayweather, what with Maidana being so hard-hitting. Sanchez took it from there.
"I mean, every fight is dangerous, and Maidana has a good punch," Sanchez said. "He's going to pose some problems for the first couple, three rounds. But once Floyd figures him out, it's going to be an easy fight for him. But I think it's a better fight than the Khan fight, just because there is going to be some engagement in there and it's going to be at least attractive to the audience."
We asked Sanchez to elaborate on this. He obliged.
"Khan is going to try and box and stay on the outside and never engage and Floyd is not really one of those guys that comes forward and wants to make a fight of it, so the styles would have have meshed well," Sanchez said.
"But if Maidana does what he did against Broner, just goes after him - although Broner is nowhere near the talent that Floyd is - but Maidana will make a fight of it until Floyd figures out his timing, figures out his speed ... then it will be an easy fight for Floyd."
Another trainer chimes in
Henry Ramirez, who trains heavyweight contender Chris Arreola, is of a similar mind as far as what would be the more pleasing fight - Mayweather-Maidana or Mayweather-Khan.
"Yeah, I agree," Ramiez said. "Maidana, his only chance is to kind of do what he did with Broner. You know, make it a rough fight, come forward, rough him up, bull-rush him. But Broner is one thing and Floyd is a whole other ballgame."
Ramirez said there is no bigger fight in the sport than one with Mayweather, and that it would be nice to see Maidana win. But, like Sanchez, he believes that Mayweather is simply head and shoulders above the rest.
Still awaiting word on Arreola-Stiverne
Dan Goossen, who promotes Arreola, on Wednesday was queried as to the hold-up in announcing the title fight between Arreola and Bermane Stiverne. A purse bid was
avoided and the WBC announced a month ago a deal had been reached. But as yet, no formal announcement about time and place has been forthcoming.
All Goossen would say is this: "I'm working with Don King on getting this thing finalized and hopefully we've got something with substance by the end of this week, Monday at the latest."
Stiverne is ranked No. 1 by the WBC, Arreola No. 2. They will fight for the title vacated by Vitali Klitschko. Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) figures to have the mental edge as he has already defeated Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) via unanimous decision last April in Ontario, Calif. Stiverne decked Arreola in the third round.
Ramirez, Arreola really irked at delay
We reached Ramirez by phone Wednesday. Didn't even finish getting the words out regarding the delay for Arreola-Stiverne, when Ramirez said in an exasperated tone - "Extremely frustrating. Extremely."
Then he really got going.
"We put the Klitschko fight together in a fraction of this time," said Ramirez, pointing to Arreola's challenge to then-champion Klitschko in September 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. "This has just been completely frustrating. Klitshcko made his announcement (that he was relinquishing his title) Dec. 15, over two months ago. "And here we are with nothing set, no date, no venue. There is stuff being kicked around behind the scenes, but nothing's set yet."
"I know he's extremely frustrated," Ramirez said. "But the thing I've tried to explain to him, I've said, 'Look, Stiverne is going through the same thing, so all we've gotta do is be ready to go.' "
Ramirez said Arreola has been in the gym three to four days a week in preparation for an eight-week training camp. Interestingly, camp won't be in Phoenix again like it was for Arreola's most recent bout - a first-round knockout of Seth Mitchell in September in Indio, Calif.
Ramirez at the time could not say enough about how well Arreola - noted for hating training - worked in Phoenix and that Arreola would train there again for his next fight. But Ramirez said he could not nail down a rental for the entire eight weeks because it's the vacation season there and it's spring training there for Major League Baseball.
"I was only able to get one for a week here, 10 days there," Ramirez said. Instead, Arreola will still get away from his native Riverside (Calif.) and train at the House of Boxing in San Diego. Ramirez said two of Arreola's sparring partners could be Joe Hanks and Lateef Kayode.
Golovkin doing as well as can be expected
Sanchez had just arrived back from Kazakhstan, where Golovkin remained after the sudden death of his father, who was 68. Sanchez was asked about the psyche of Golovkin as he gets close to announcing his next fight.
"He's doing OK, considering the fact his father wasn't sick or anything," Sanchez said. "There was no preparation for it."
Sanchez said the front-runner for Golovkin's next title defense is Andy Lee, and it could be formally announced next week.
"Right now we've gotta take these fights until the point comes when somebody bigger takes the fight," Sanchez said, not knocking Lee, but alluding to Golovkin's difficulties in getting the bigger names in the ring.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.