Boxing’s 2014 Fight of The Year wasn’t fought inside the ring, it was the one which Oscar De La Hoya fought against Richard Schaeffer in the court of law. And after nearly a year, it is finally over.
The Golden Rift
Golden Boy Promotions President and owner Oscar De La Hoya and former Golden Boy Promotions Richard Schaeffer have settled the lawsuit which De La Hoya filed against Schaeffer last June 2014. De La Hoya filed an arbitration for $50M in damages against Schaeffer for putting fighters under adviser Al Haymon on major GBP cards even though they did not have any promotional contract with GBP. Schaeffer, who was the only CEO in Golden Boy from its inception in 2007, resigned last May on the verge of a disintegrating relationship with De La Hoya.
The Golden Rift, as it was called, began when De La Hoya started to impose his will on the decision making in GBP. Schaeffer particularly objected to De La Hoya’s plan to reconcile with former promoter and Top Rank President Bob Arum. De La Hoya insisted that in order to make the best fights possible, they had to start working with the competition. For personal reasons, Schaeffer vowed never to work with Arum and when it appeared that De La Hoya was about to win the power struggle, Schaeffer stepped down last May. However, instead of a mutual parting ways between good buddies and business partners, it led to a nasty divorce that included both suing each other. Fortunately, that fight may be over.
How they Settled
As part of the settlement, De La Hoya and Golden Boy will cut ties with some of its top boxers who are aligned with Al Haymon. The list includes Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Peter Quillin, Erislandy Lara, Daniel Jacobs, Abner Mares, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Devon Alexander, Shawn Porter, Robert Guerrero and Deontay Wilder. After GBP surrenders Haymon’s boxers, it will be left with a lean stable that is led by Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and a dozen of quality young boxers it signed last Thursday. GBP will also continue to promote Haymon fighters who have contracts with them and these include Amir Khan, Leo Sta. Cruz, Lucas Matthysse and Paulie Malignaggi.
For his part of the deal, Schaeffer will not be allowed to promote for a period of time which was not disclosed, although sources say that period could be between one to two years. Sources also say that Schaeffer may be forced to relinquish his 8% share of Golden Boy Promotions as part of the settlement.
Like Starting Over Again
This settlement opens the door for Schaeffer to join Mayweather Promotions. Back when Schaeffer and De La Hoya were still fighting each other at GBP last year, Floyd Mayweather Jr. publicly stated that the door is wide open for Schaeffer to join the Money Team. Speculations of Schaeffer’s impending takeover increased last September when a rift between Floyd Jr. and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe were revealed. Mayweather talked about a shake-up and Ellerbe hasn’t been heard of since then. Now that Schaeffer is a “free man”, that could become a reality.
Although it stands to receive millions of dollars from Schaeffer, De La Hoya’s GBP loses grip of world champions and big name fighters whom it has nurtured over the years under Schaeffer’s golden watch. And while it retained its crown jewel in Canelo Alvarez, their roster of boxers has definitely thinned. But De La Hoya says that he’s happy the fight is over because he can now focus on making the “best fights” possible for the fans. He also believes that his roster of young fighters can become GBP’s next generation of stars.
It does look like Oscar’s starting all over again, but at least not from scratch with Canelo and the few superstars left on board. But at least that fight is over, both for De La Hoya and Schaeffer, because boxing fans need to see the best fights in the ring not inside the courtrooms.