Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum said he plans to “get even in spades” with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer and Showtime for televising an IBF bantamweight title rematch between titleholder Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko on Dec. 3, the same night as Arum’s HBO Pay Per View return bout between WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto and ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito.
Margarito-Cotto II had long been planned for that date when Mares-Agbeko II was officially announced on Wednesday.
“Richard Schaefer and Showtime ought to be ashamed of themselves. Nobody has done this in boxing in years. To put up a fight against another promoter’s pay per view show with these two guys that nobody has ever heard of. I don’t think that it’s going to hurt us, but it’s still really bad form,” said the 79-year-old Arum.
“They ought to be ashamed, and particularly Schaefer, because Schaefer, who does pay per view shows, should know better. So there’s one word that I want to leave them with and that’s retaliation. I’m not going to get angry, I’m not going to get bitter at what they did, but man am I going to get even in spades. I am going to retaliate when he’s the most vulnerable, when he has the most on the line, and he is not going to get away with this.”
Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) scored an 11th-round knockout of Cotto (36-2, 30 KOs) that dethroned Cotto as WBA welterweight titleholder in July of 2008.
Mares-Agbeko II was mandated by the IBF after last month’s unanimous decision in favor of Mares, who landed repeated low blows that went un-penalized by referee Russell Mora, including a shot to Agbeko’s cup that was ruled a knockdown.
“That’s the date that we got, and I have the responsibility to our fighters to offer them the dates that we get,” said Schaefer. “Bob knows that. So if Bob has a beef with Showtime, then we at Golden Boy don’t really need to be put in the middle of this battle, because it has nothing to do with us.”
Schaefer contends that there were no other dates available, owing to the fact that each of the networks has a stocked fall schedule.
In succession, HBO has RING champion Sergio Martinez facing Darren Barker on Oct. 1, an HBO Pay Per View fight with RING and WBC titleholder Bernard Hopkins meeting Chad Dawson on Oct. 15 (promoted by Golden Boy), and a WBO and WBC bantamweight defense by Nonito Donaire against Omar Narvaez on Oct. 22 (Top Rank).
In addition, Showtime will televise IBF super middleweight beltholder Lucien Bute against Glen Johnson on Nov. 5, HBO Pay Per View has Manny Pacquiao defending his WBO welterweight belt opposite Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, and HBO has Julio Cesar Chavez putting his WBC middleweight title on the line against Peter Manfredo Jr. on Nov. 19.
HBO also will televise WBA and IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan against Lamont Peterson on Dec. 10.
Given such a full schedule, Schaefer is at a loss to see an alternative solution to Arum’s complaint.
“When you look at the dates, it was impossible for us and for Showtime to go with another date,” he said. December 17 is a week before Christmas. Who in the hell is going to do a fight a week before Christmas? Tell us what other dates we could have done,” said Schaefer.
“So if that was the only date, that was the only date. Does Bob expect me to go to our fighters and say, ‘Sorry, guys, Top Rank is doing Cotto versus Margarito, so you guys can’t fight this year?’ I mean, come on. Nobody is trying to harm anybody. There was just no choice.”
Arum disagreed, saying he moved Donaire’s defense to Oct. 22 from Oct. 29 to avoid clashing with Showtime’s light heavyweight bout between WBA beltholder Andre Ward and WBC titleholder Carl Froch.
“They can go screw themselves, saying that they ran out of dates. When we had a date with HBO for Nonito Donaire, which was a date that we preferred, and Showtime called us and said, ‘Please don’t do it, you will be going up against our fight on Oct. 29,’ and that they had invested so much into the super middleweight tournament, we said ‘We understand, we’ll go to HBO, and we got another date,’ which was Oct. 22.
“That’s what you do if you’re interested in the sport itself. So if a network had said to me that it wanted me to put a fight on against another man’s pay per view on another network, I would have said absolutely not. You don’t lend yourself to putting on a fight against another premium network.”
The situation has developed during a time when the promotional companies’ once contentious relationship appeared to have been smoothed over since their twice-failed negotiations to make a bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather has been handled by Golden Boy Promotions, and Pacquiao, by Top Rank.
Pacquiao had once jointly signed with both companies, creating a conflict. But the fighter has since amicably settled a lawsuit with Golden Boy Promotions, and now is being promoted full-time by Top Rank.
“We’re looking forward to putting together Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather, which the whole world wants to watch. Golden Boy is looking forward to continuing to work with Top Rank to make those fights. We’re looking forward to working with Bob,” said Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya.
“With Arum staging the pay per view on Dec. 3, I feel that it’s going to be a great success. I feel that both shows have history together and a lot of people want to watch that fight. I don’t believe that his pay per view will be affected by it. I believe that it will be enhanced. People will be able to watch more boxing on television, and I wish him all the best.”
Gomez has been handled by Top Rank, and Alvarez, by Golden Boy.
There has been speculation that Showtime officials might be trying to get back at Arum, who took Pacquiao’s victory over Mosley to Showtime Pay Per View in May, but returned to HBO Pay Per View for his third bout with Marquez.
“If Bob has a beef with Showtime because he took Pacquiao back to HBO, then we shouldn’t be thrown in the middle of it,” said Schaefer, who planned to meet with Arum next week concerning a potential fight between Alvarez and Chavez Jr.
“As a matter of fact, I called Bob this morning and left him a message before I knew about this. They’re both great cards. They’re going to do well, and we’re going to do well. It is what it is. But as far as we are concerned, there were clearly no bad intentions.”
Showtime’s Senior Director of Communications Chris DiBlasio would not comment.
“We started off on a great fight with Gamboa-Ponce De Leon, and that’s just scratching the surface,” said De La Hoya. “We’re looking forward to the great fights that we can make in the future with Saul Alvarez against Chavez Jr.”
Arum said he still believed that he could work with Golden Boy, even if he’s out for payback.
“It won’t prevent us from negotiating fights, but it’s certainly going to affect our relationship. Of course it does. I’m telling you, there will be a retaliation in spades,” said Arum.
“What’s going to happen is when they have their next pay per view fight, even if it costs me a lot of money, and even if it means going to an over-the-air terrestrial network, I’m going to put a blockbuster up against their fight, and I’m really going to hurt them.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com