Tuesday, 27 August 2013 16:49

Boxing: How Golden Boy Promotions Is Reviving the Sweet Science

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With one swipe of his left hand, journeyman Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8) stunned now former WBC featherweight champion, Abner Mares (26-1-1), and may have dashed some of Golden Boy Promotions' best-laid plans.
Mares, as much as a 14-1 favorite on Saturday night, was rapidly climbing many reputable pound-for-pound lists, including that of RING Magazine which had ranked him fifth coming into the bout with Gonzalez.

The under-card featured another budding star, Leo Santa Cruz (25-0-1), who would make quick work of Victor Terrazas to capture his second world title. If you blinked, you may have missed the entire card, with the co-feature and main event combining for less than four rounds of action.

Golden Boy, who undoubtedly saw a near-term opportunity to match Mares and Santa Cruz, deserves a lot of credit for not simply lining up lesser-knowns for the two young stars to pad their records in the interim.

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer


Promotional entities are often criticized for "careful" match making, so as not to jeopardize a prized fighter's potential for down-stream revenue. That said, Richard Schaefer and Golden Boy have given fans one exciting fight after another in 2013, with less emphasis on preservation of human capital.

Canelo vs Trout
Consider the perils of April's Austin Trout/Canelo Alvarez bout for example. Trout, a then undefeated champion, stood a reasonable chance of upsetting Alvarez and thereby eliminating the possibility of a Mayweather/Canelo mega fight.

Mayweather vs Canelo
For that matter, how about "The One" on September 14th? This will feature Golden Boy's two most marketable fighters, and barring a draw, one will have to lose. Schaefer et. al. could have easily held out for more fights in order to maximally cash in on both fighters, but they did not.

Broner vs Maidana
Another of their promising young talents, Adrien Broner, appears poised to face uber dangerous Marcos Maidana later this year, as well. Some may consider this risky modus operandi to be bad business, but I, for one, do not care. This promoter, in particular, has made for one of the most exciting years in recent boxing history.

So, from a fan and a scribe; thank you to Richard, Oscar and all of your tireless workers.

The sport is rebounding thanks to your daring business model.

That said, there can be no excitement without casualties.

Mares vs Gonzalez
Abner Mares was and may still be a rising star, with many big fights in his future. There should be no underestimating the potential career impact of Saturday's loss, however. A first round knockout is as emphatic as it gets, but that's the risk one takes when facing an opponent with 47 career knockouts.

Courtesy of Golden Boy Promotionsmares-goldenboyp

Shocking as it was, the outcome was a glimpse into the reality of boxing. As much as many promoters would have you believe otherwise, no fighter is invincible.

Mares was viewed, by most pundits, as an elite boxer, and was considered an even-money bet against Nonito Donaire before their much ballyhooed clash was quashed by promotional politics in 2012. A year later, Abner is left to pick up the pieces of his broken career after failing his latest test. He is young enough to recover from this defeat, but he should not count on Golden Boy to pave his road to stardom. They have repeatedly shown a willingness to make the best fights, however dangerous those may be to the participants.

Interestingly, it has been reported that Richard Schaefer called Bob Arum's bluff by offering three million dollars to arrange Mares vs Donaire last year.

With a growing corps of young, exciting fighters, Schaefer and Co. seem less risk-aversed. It's a good thing for boxing.

I would expect Abner Mares back some time in early 2014, possibly in a rematch with Gonzalez, or even in the previously (seemingly) planned bout with Santa Cruz. In either case, he will have to earn his way back to the top of the Golden Boy meritocracy.



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