Golden Boy Promotions Ushers in a New Future By Gabriel Montoya (Sept 21, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing
Before Golden Boy Promotions gave us Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora on Saturday night, which was a fight between an aging legend and an older contender, they introduced us to the future of their business. Nine young fighters, either early in their pro careers or about to debut (one just days away from his 18th birthday), all signed with Golden Boy in hopes of one day becoming the future of our sport. No question they will be. However, it will be up to them how those futures play out.
Each has a stellar amateur background chock full of amateur fights and accolades. Some are coached by their fathers, which is always a crap shoot. Others have veterans with them such as Kenny Adams. All have the backing of one of the top promotional machines in the sport.
Over the years, the criticism leveled at Golden Boy has been that they 1) merely sign already-developed free agents and 2) have yet to develop a fighter from scratch. While a few of their newly-signed fighters already have pro fights under their belts, this signing, brought along with the help of co-managers Cameron Dunkin and Michael Miller, represents Golden Boy’s newest and best shot at proving the critics wrong.
A relatively young company, Golden Boy is now in a position to get a foothold in several divisions using these nine blue-chip prospects. Each represents a new chance, a new beginning. With venues like the Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA and their “Fight Night Club” series that is housed there, Golden Boy already has a place to showcase these young fighters though the plan seemed to be about putting these fighters in venues where they can be grown into local draws. That’s a smart move and a right step in the true promoting direction.
“Remember these names because they are some of the most talented fighters from around the world,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “From Canada, from Africa, from the U.S., from Mexico, from Venezuela, from really all over the world, these are the best of the best. And we are putting together a special series to showcase these young and emerging fighters.”
The fighters are as follows:
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio but of Puerto Rican descent, junior middleweight soon-to-be pro Eduardo Alicea boasts an impressive amateur record of 143-16 with six national championships and a number one ranking in the U.S. as a Junior Olympian in 2007. A big kid of 19 who stands 5’11” out of the orthodox stance, he has room to grow with some polish to his game.
Junior featherweight Manuel “Tino” Avila out of Fairfield, CA had an amateur record of 48-6 with a number three Junior Olympian record. At just 18, “Tino” is ready to make a splash in the pro ranks.
Alfonso Blanco turned pro just this past week and is 1-0. The Argentinean represented his home country in the 2008 Olympics at middleweight, following an amateur career that took him to 157-21 and a number one ranking. Blanco is now living here in the U.S. in Oxnard, CA and is under the guidance of Robert Garcia.
Randy Caballero is a rising prospect out of Coachella, CA. While he is a bantamweight, he appears to have a heavyweight punch with four KOs in as many fights. Caballero is an action fighter who will be very TV-friendly down the line. He is already showing himself to be a draw at the box office with a sizeable following travelling to see him on a regular basis.
Michael Finney is out of Smiths Station, Alabama and also boasts an undefeated record with nothing but KOs at 5-0 (four in the first round). Another number one-ranked Junior Olympian, the junior welterweight Finney amassed a 119-29 record. A pro since February of this year, Finney is trained in Las Vegas by veteran trainer Kenny Adams which will give him seasoning, veteran tricks and some slickness down the line to go with his power game.
Lightweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. ,4-0 (4), is trained by his father, who helped him to a number two USA ranking back in 2008 en route to finishing up with a 118-12 record. A southpaw, the 19-year “young,” as Schaefer called all his fighters, Maldonado has KO’d all of his pro opponents in the first round.
Trevor Dean McCumby is just 17 years old but will turn 18 on the 22nd of September, at which time he will be able to sign his promotional contract. When he does, Golden Boy hopes the light heavyweight Yorkville, Illinois native and seven-time national champ will have the kind of 138-11 amateur record success in the pros.
Middleweight Bastie Samir, 4-0 (4), makes his home in Las Vegas, NV and is already turning heads in the pro ranks. The Accra, Ghana native lives up the fighting history of his country with his come-forward, shell defense ways. But it’s his sheer strength and size that is impressive in there. He’s blown out all his opponents in the first round. While he gets a little wild when he gets excited, I look for him to tighten his game under trainer Kenny Adams and become a force in the next two years. One story that was told during the presser was how Samir once broke an amateur opponent’s head gear in the 2008 Olympic Games. Samir’s amateur record was 96-7.
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec native Mikael Zewski, 4-0 (3), is a big kid for welterweight with hands on him like a light heavyweight. I about lost my hand shaking his. He’s a four-time Canadian National Champion with an amateur record of 138-29.
Over the course of the next few months, each of these men will be found either fighting or debuting on Golden Boy cards. Zewski is already slated to be on the Bernard Hopkins vs. Jean Pascal card in Quebec on December 18, 2010.
“We are going to keep you guys busy,” promised Schaefer. “We have about 80 events per year. We are going to give you guys the opportunities. I know we are going to go with Cameron and Michael in your corner into the position where you can become not only world champions but our goal is to make you superstars of the sport. You guys, all of you here, have the talent; you have the background, and you have the fan base which you can build up with all those different places you are coming from. So it will be in your hands. We will do our job and you will do your job. It’s really a pleasure and an honor to welcome all of you to the Golden Boy family.”
When Schaefer was finished introducing each fighter and welcoming them to the pro ranks, their commencement speech was given by a very special valedictorian, that graduate with a PHD from the school of the hardest knocks possible, Bernard Hopkins.
“Curfew is at nine o’ clock,” joked Bernard Hopkins. “I don’t know if Richard told you but the curfew is at nine.”
The fighters all laughed but you could see in their faces, they were about to get old-school wisdom from an old-school fighter who is as much a symbol of what will and discipline can get you in the sport of boxing.
“In all seriousness, this is what we came in five years ago to establish,” said “The Executioner.” “We’re doing this in a big way. We are boxing. We are the future as time goes on. And ya’ll filling some big shoes. And start your own legacy but learn from the old; learn from history. Boxing is an art. Make it that. At the end of the day, if we learn all about the past, you will be great in the future because you can use all that happened yesterday with what you are going to do tomorrow. And as you become more groomed in boxing and more of a veteran, you will understand that winning in boxing is not the only thing- it’s everything. Thing will happen as time go on but things happen better for you when you win. And so winning is the first priority. Take care of it. Live right.”
As Hopkins said this, I scanned the fighters and they were all focused in on Hopkins, While this day was one of great joy for all of them, it was clear the gravity of this chance was hitting them dead in the face. Not one of them bothered to slip the shot but instead, took it in flush.
“I’ll be 46 in January,” continued Hopkins. “Some say I am of the norm but it’s what I did earlier in my career that helped me have the longevity that I have now. So if you have learned anything from me, by watching me other the years or watching other fighters like Shane Mosley or Oscar De La Hoya, remember this: take care of yourself now and it’s like investing your money early. When you go, it will pay dividends later. You can always go to cash out. You can always go to look for that in your body and your health and your boxing skills as time go on. So this is crucial. This is very crucial for you all to learn this now. You learn this now early and it becomes easy. And people ask you as you go on, ‘How do you stay so in shape? You look like you’re ready to fight right now.’ Because I invested in myself early on. I’m telling you that’s Rule Number One. Invest in yourself; take care of your body. Take care of yourself and everything else; with Cameron Dunkin, great manager in boxing, Golden Boy, the promoters of this era, of this time, you have everything working in your favor. Now it’s up to you. We’ll do our work. You do yours.”
The future is now. Again.
“So are you ready for James Kirkland?” asked his co-manager Cameron Dunkin.
“Absolutely,” I answered.
September 17 was supposed to be the date Kirkland was released but it seems there is a bit of snafu in getting that done.
I was told by junior middleweight contender James Kirkland’s co-manager Miller that James is experiencing some red tape in getting out. He was supposed to be released on the 17th but is being delayed a few days while some last-minute paperwork is being filed. The exciting fighter should be out in the next week with a penciled-in fight date scheduled for November 6. Kirkland will return December 4, should he win. Both bouts will be off-TV and eight-rounders. Make no mistake, neither his managers Cameron Dunkin and Mike Miller nor his promoter, Golden Boy, are looking to rush him back to action.