Richard Schaefer, the former longtime CEO of Golden Boy Promotions who left after a nasty breakup with close friend, business partner and majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya in June 2014, is returning to the boxing promotional business two years later.
Schaefer has founded Ringstar Sports and plans to promote his first event late this summer, he told ESPN on Wednesday.
Schaefer said he has already been licensed in New York, Texas and California with a license application working its way through the process in Nevada. The Nevada State Athletic Commission told ESPN his application is being reviewed.
“I’m very excited to be back,” Schaefer said.
As Golden Boy CEO, Schaefer, who co-founded the company with De La Hoya in 2002, ran the day-to-day business while De La Hoya was largely an absentee owner. Under Schaefer’s direction, the company became one of the most significant promotional outfits in the world and promoted many of the biggest fights of the past 15 years, including record-setting pay-per-view events headlined by De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.
Schaefer promoted the two biggest-selling pay-per-view events in boxing history at the time — the 2007 showdown between Mayweather and De La Hoya and the 2013 fight between Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, although those records were shattered by last year’s Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao blockbuster.
When Schaefer left Golden Boy following a severe disagreement with De La Hoya on the direction of the company, he signed a non-compete clause and gave up his ownership share of the company. That clause expired last summer and rumors have swirled since that Schaefer would eventually return to the sport.
“I could have come back quite a while ago, last summer, when my non-compete expired but I took my time. I was thinking it through and I’m very excited now to go full-steam ahead with Ringstar,” Schaefer said. “I am reactivating my deep relationships in the boxing industry with fighters, venues, networks, sponsors, managers and, of course, my friends in the media. I will be in the coming weeks recruiting a seasoned team of executives from matchmakers to operational people, marketing and sponsorship professionals to join me at Ringstar to help maximize revenues for our athletes.”
When Schaefer left Golden Boy several key employees close to him were fired soon after. Schaefer said he hopes to “put the band back together” by hiring some of them, including longtime right-hand man and marketing expert Bruce Binkow.
“They were my colleagues and very smart and good at what they do,” Schaefer said. “There also are top matchmakers out there as well. I want to get the ring stars but I really want to have outside the ring stars as well. You need to have the right team.
“What I will be doing first is putting the team in place and I will be pursuing network deals and start to sign fighters. I believe putting things in the right order. Some others sign fighters and then chase these others things. I like to do it the other way around. I want to be able to offer young fighters, maybe some coming off [this summer’s] Olympics or world champions who will become free agents a platform on television and sponsors so that I can tell them what I will do for them and how I will make them the kind of money I made for Floyd Mayweather and for many others. That’s what I want to offer the talent out there. I made Oscar a lot of money, including outside of the ring.”
Schaefer and De La Hoya openly feuded in the final months of their relationship until Schaefer resigned just days before De La Hoya’s induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
The 55-year-old former Swiss banker, who lives in Los Angeles, was at odds with De La Hoya over his relationship with powerful adviser and manager Al Haymon. Golden Boy, at Schaefer’s orders, was promoting many of Haymon’s top fighters but did not sign them to promotional contracts. When De La Hoya found out his company did not have contracts with them he was upset.
Schaefer said while his focus will be on promoting in the United States, he also plans to do events overseas, especially in the United Kingdom. He also said he remains close to Haymon, who founded Premier Boxing Champions after Schaefer left Golden Boy. He said he likely will promote some PBC events.
“I certainly hope I will be able to promote some of those events,” Schaefer said. “I have a great relationship with Al, but first things first. I want to build Ringstar into major promotional outfit in the United States and globally as well. I am as excited about boxing as I have ever been. We’re going to have fun again.”