Leave it to an American and a Russian to create detente in boxing.
With Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions engaged in a lengthy cold war and neither company willing to work with the other the past few years, Saturday’s fight between American Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko for the vacant World Boxing Organization featherweight championship at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., may mark a new beginning.
Richard Schaefer’s resignation as CEO of Golden Boy on June 2, coupled with a reconciliation last month between Top Rank chairman Bob Arum and Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, could lead to the companies doing more business together.
“I think it’s a big breakthrough for me and Lomachenko to be able to be one of the first to actually do it, and hopefully this will open the door for a lot of other fights that the fans would want to see take place,” said Russell, who is promoted by Golden Boy and advised by Al Haymon, another adversary of Arum’s.
But there still are elements of the cold war in place. Neither Arum nor De La Hoya was on the conference call with reporters Tuesday to promote the Showtime card, in which Robert Guerrero will return to the ring for the first time in more than a year, meeting Yoshihiro Kamegai of Japan in the main event.
Arum said he was planning to be on the call until Showtime requested that he not come on. Showtime denied that but issued a statement:
“The June 21 Showtime Championship Boxing event is promoted by Golden Boy and, collectively with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy promotions. We agreed that this was not a platform on which any other promotional outfit belongs. This call is about the fighters on this card that are preparing for important and competitive fights.”
Arum, who promotes Lomachenko, had Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti take his place on the call. Matchmaker Eric Gomez represented Golden Boy.
“At the end of the day, I just can’t see in the middle of the sixth round guys rooting for Al or for Bob,” Moretti said. “It’s a fight, and the fight Lomachenko has to worry about is Gary Russell, and the fight Gary Russell has to worry about is Lomachenko. Anything other than that is just Twitter talk, which people seem to love lately.”
■ HANEY FALLS — Las Vegas featherweight Devin Haney lost to Ryan Garcia of Adelanto, Calif., 2-1 Friday in the semifinals of the Junior Olympic National championships in Charleston, W.Va.
Haney, a two-time Junior Open champion, won his first two fights, defeating Israel Rodriguez of Humble, Texas, 3-0, and Justin Roman of St. Cloud, Fla., 2-1.
In the women’s division, Las Vegas’ Yarisel Ramirez lost 3-0 to Zoe Glass of Lansing, Mich., in the 119-pound quarterfinals.
■ HARD ROCK CARD — Junior middleweights Alfonso Gomez (23-6-2, 12 knockouts) and Ed Paredes (35-3-1, 23 KOs) will headline Golden Boy’s July 9 card at the Hard Rock Hotel. Gomez will be fighting for the first time since July 2012, and Paredes, unbeaten in his past 15 fights, will be making his Las Vegas debut.
The 10-round fight will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes.
Also, U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (10-0, seven KOs) will meet an opponent to be determined in an eight-round junior featherweight bout. And Diego De La Hoya (5-0, four KOs), the cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, will face an opponent to be determined in a six-round junior featherweight bout.
■ DURAN COMMITS — Roberto Duran has confirmed he will attend the induction ceremonies for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on Aug. 9 at the Tropicana.
Duran, a four-division world champion, is one of eight boxers being inducted, along with George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Cornelius Boza-Edwards, plus the late Joe Louis, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey and Archie Moore.
Tickets to the event, priced from $75 to $300, are available at nvbhof.com.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.