Promoter Richard Schaefer was front and center in boxing for a long spell, and then hit bumpy road, as his relationship with pal Oscar De La Hoya fractured. They went from pals and business partners at Golden Boy to pretty bitter enemies, with accusations being lobbied back and forth.
The boxing sphere is life in a microcosm, and as in life, tensions simmer, the emotional pot overflows and then the after party. As in life, it is, on paper, often wisest to eventually, after you have had your time mulling, to sort of let it go….
On the latest edition of TALBOX, we had Schaefer, a Swiss native who was big in the banking biz before he jumped ship to boxing, talk about that fractious period, and how he handled it, as well as his current ventures. He’s back promoting, but taking a different track; there is no Oscar out front, so Schaefer is more so building a stable of younger guns who are not yet household names.
“Boxing is a love-hate, so like a relationship, and I think that probably goes for everyone, including the fans,” Schaefer told listeners. “Sometimes fans are outraged about the quality of fights, and then they’re in love with it again. It goes I think with everybody who is somehow associated with the sport. But first comes love..and then comes hate. It’s the same with me, I think the love is really over powering when it comes to boxing. Once you have that boxing bug it’s tough to let go.” He said he left GB and had a six month non compete. He could have come back more quickly, but he took his time. He was the top dog with Oscar, and wasn’t sure he wanted to have another go. Then he started going to fights, and he said media, fans and fighters told him they missed him. He talked it over with his family, and they said OK, so last summer, he started anew.
I wondered, did we the media cover the fracture and fallout correctly? He said that De La Hoya was public about the relationship and “I sort of took the high road and I’m very, very proud of what I accomplished at Golden Boy,” including for the investors, and “Oscar decided to attack me.” He said he didn’t want to get into a back and forth mud match, then or now, and prefers to look forward. He said Oscar made more money outside the ring than inside the ring, so, reading between the lines, he thinks I think that maybe Oscar should more so appreciate that. “I wish him well, boxing is big sport, there doesn’t have to be one entity that controls the sport…I look forward to working with them on a fight or fights,” he stated.
Would he co-promote with Oscar or Arum, with whom he sparred, first? Both, he said, but Arum seems more likely to work with him. “Bob doesn’t hold grudges,” he said and he learned from Arum and Don King that you can still do business with frenemies. He noted that Top Rank’s Julian Rodriguez will fight on the Oct. 21 New Jersey Ringstar card. “This is like an olive branch…you’ve got to get along,” he said, noting he’s chatted with Bob about business and Todd Duboef as well. Warring promoters shouldn’t disenable fights, he said.
Schaefer said he takes a fair share of blame, for not being so willing to work with other promoters but he’s lived and learned.
He delved into who he believes his top draws are on the Ringstar roster and told us more about that Oct. 21 show.
The show is a solid session, I think, so give her a listen.