When Timothy Bradley accepted his Fight of the Year Award at the BWAA Awards in Las Vegas for his March 2013 bout against Ruslan Provodnikov, he also gave a message to the assembled attendants. It is time for the Cold War to end and for the best fights available to be made.
With members from HBO, Showtime, Golden Boy Promotions, and Top Rank all under one roof for the dinner that took place a few days before Floyd Mayweather would face Marcos Maidana, it was as good a time as any for a top fighter to be vocal about boxing’s Cold War.
Monday afternoon, it was announced that Richard Schaefer has left Golden Boy, the company he was the CEO to and an integral part of the southern California company’s success in recent years. Behind The Gloves reached out to Bradley and spoke with him briefly on his thoughts about the development and whether or not he thinks it will be a building block to making fights with his promoter Top Rank in the future.
“Just because Schaefer left the company, doesn’t mean that a lot of these fights will be made. Relationships are built upon two people or a group of people and that all depends on their working relationship as far as Golden Boy’s standpoint goes,” said Bradley in a phone interview with BTG.
“Richard Schaefer was part of it, he’s not probably the only one to blame for whatever reason that these two companies are not working together. You can’t put the blame on one person. I can say this, it’ll probably be a lot of easier to bridge the gap this time around.
“I think if anything, if these two companies work together, I think that would be a lot better for boxing and for all the fans out there that would like to see a lot of these fights that can happen.”
Concerning what made Bradley decide to be the first top fighter to be vocal about the need to end the Cold War and make the big fights when he gave his acceptance speech at the BWAA Dinner, Bradley said it just hit him in the moment.
“Me, as a fighter, I want to fight the best in the world,” said Bradley.
“The fact that everybody was in the same place, was getting along and talking, Showtime was there, HBO was there, Golden Boy was there, Top Rank. The fact that everybody was in the same room I was like, ‘Hey, this is a good start! Everybody is talking, everybody is cordial, no fights broke out. Hey guys, we could be grown up about this. If we’re able to meet in this room like this and spend a couple of hours together, I’m pretty sure we can do this on a regular basis, once or twice a week or something!’”
“Me, I speak out. I don’t really care about what people think or say about me, if I feel something I’m gonna say it. I felt like I needed to get that off my chest and that is why I said it.”
The Cold War did breed some great competitive in-house fights over the past few years as the two promotional companies tried to continually one-up each other. We saw not one, but TWO major Las Vegas fights take place two Septembers ago within a 10 mile radius that did insane numbers.
Great matchups within each promotional stable have been bred, ones that would take too long to list. However, the Cold War has seemingly run its course and each promoter has run low on enticing matchups that can be made under their own umbrella.
“We don’t know if it has run its course,” said Bradley of the Cold War. “There’s still a lot of information that people don’t really know or me as a fighter doesn’t really know that is going on behind closed doors with these two companies. I hardly know what is going on with my company Top Rank so I’m not sure where we go from here. It is all up to them at the end of the day. But it is a start to something different, so we’ll see what happens.”
Though Bradley has never been promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, when asked whether or not he thinks Schaefer did a good job for them while CEO, he agreed that he did.
“I know that the company was having success and having good fights, good cards for the fans and Schaefer was a part of that,” said Bradley.
“You can’t deny that he helped build Golden Boy. With that being said, you’ve gotta definitely give him credit for what he did for Golden Boy. You can’t say that Oscar did everything himself, it is a company. Everybody that contributed to the company, they all did their part and Schaefer was one of them.”
Boxing is unlike other sports where there is no union and it is mostly an individual sport. When asked if Bradley talks to fighters that are Golden Boy fighters and whether developments such as this one are discussed, Bradley said not as often as you might think.
“I talk to a few of fighters,” said Bradley. “But we don’t really discuss their business, we mainly focus on our business and whatever we have coming ahead. The only time we really think about it is when it is brought up. We’re still fighting, we’re still doing what we love to do.”
“I just feel like to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” said Bradley (though it wasn’t accompanied by a Ric Flair “WOOO!”).
“There is a lot of great fighters there in the Golden Boy stable and a lot of great challenges. I just want to continue to fight the best and we’ll see what all of this boils down to at the end of the day and see if anything comes out of it.”
One can only hope.
-Mark E. Ortega / @MarkEOrtega