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De La Hoya candidly opens up on Schaefer exit, rumours and estrangement

Phil Jay 26/06/2014

Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya has given a candid interview to Pasadena Star News as the recent Hall of Fame inductee attempted to shed some light on his recent split with Richard Schaefer.

Schaefer announced his decision to step down from his position as CEO of Golden Boy early in June – a move that was widely predicted as the two had become increasingly distant in the preceding months.

De La Hoya has now revealed his shock at the timing of Schaefer’s departure, and says despite still having a contract with his former right-hand man, the company will look to the future without the ex-Swiss banker at the helm.

“I was taken aback by it. I was very surprised,” De La Hoya explained to Robert Morales in his lengthy discussion with pasadenastarnews.com

“You hear rumors, you hear rumblings — the boxing world is a small world — and so I started to hear some rumblings years ago. But you don’t want to believe them. Call me naive, call me innocent or whatever you want to call me, but I just didn’t want to believe them.

“So when you have a CEO, you put all your trust into the CEO and the CEO runs your company for you. That’s basically what was happening. So to me, when he resigned, it was an instant shock at the time. But I heard rumblings many years ago.

“I still am surprised and shocked where it really started. Everything. Because like I said, rumors were swirling years ago. But when I did announce I wanted to make amends with Arum and any other promoter out there — so I put the fans first — then I guess that’s what broke the camel’s back.”

Asked by Morales if he had put the wheels in motion to find a replacement, De La Hoya was adamant that nothing has changed since Schaefer left and nobody is earmarked to come in.

“I haven’t started, I haven’t looked for anybody,” confirmed De La Hoya. “See … the way I look at Golden Boy Promotions is as a well-oiled machine. Rome wasn’t built by Caesar alone. You have all these great people that are working at Golden Boy as a team, making fights, putting the fights together, putting events together, from marketing to PR to doing the everyday legwork, I mean, we’re a team.

“We haven’t lost a beat, we haven’t skipped a beat. We’re moving forward, like a freight train. And on the contrary, everybody’s taking a deep breath and just working happy and working with no stress and just all united and working. We’re moving forward.”

Speculation had been rife that Schaefer was hoping to oust De La Hoya from the company following his much-publicised stints in rehab, although the multi-weight world champion had to remain somewhat tight-lipped on the delicate matter for legal reasons.

“Well, it will be really difficult to talk about that because of, you know, obviously, there’s lawyers involved. And a lot of legal issues. I would rather not talk about it. But let’s just put it this way, that I’m not going to leave any stone unturned. I’m going to look at everything. Now that I can, now that I have the ability to do so, I’m going to look at everything and we’ll see what comes out.”

On the subject of ever working with Schaefer in the future if he accepts a similar position at a rival outfit, De La Hoya added. “He’s under contract until 2018, (but) I haven’t talked to him in months.

“If it’s going to mean making the best fights for the fans, then I’m open to anything. I mean, the bottom line is it’s for the fans. That’s how it is. I fought everybody there is to fight, because I always put the fans first. What are the fans going to think of me? What are fans going to think about this fight? What are they going to think about my performance? I did it because of that reason and it worked out great because I never ducked anybody. Nobody can say I ducked anybody. I wanted to fight these guys. I wanted to make sure the fans were happy.

“The bottom line is, without fans there’s no sport, there’s no events, there’s no nothing. So I mean, boxing … what it needs is for everybody to come together. Whether it’s promoters, managers, whatever. And just think about the fan first.”

And finally, on his own role within Golden Boy since his return from personal problems: “I’m more hands-on, making decisions, making fights, taking a role of, ‘Hey, this is not my company, this is our company.’

“But that logo, that silhouette, that’s me. That’s me,” pointed out De La Hoya.

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