Carl Frampton can be king in US, says Richard Schaefer
Richard Schaefer has promoted some of the greats in recent history and he is backing Carl Frampton to become one of the most marketable boxers in the world.
Schaefer's new company, Ringstar, are co-promoting, along with Cyclone Promotions, Frampton's WBA World featherweight title re-match with Leo Santa Cruz in the early hours of this Sunday morning at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. The former Swiss banker has been struck by the charisma of the Jackal as much as his boxing skills.
Frampton made the American boxing fraternity sit up and take notice of him to such an extent in 2016 that he was voted Fighter of the Year by Ring magazine and a plethora of other websites and organisations.
That came as no surprise to Schaefer who believes that another pulsating victory for Frampton could secure him a regular booking on the Las Vegas strip.
"It says a lot that we have two featherweights topping the bill at the MGM Grand - only great featherweights such as Manny Pacquaio and Marco Antonio Barrera have done that. Carl Frampton is a rare talent and for me is the ultimate entertainer," said Schaefer, who has promoted such ring greats as Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De la Hoya with whom he had a 10-year business partnership when they set up Golden Boy Promotions.
Schaefer continued: "Carl is not only a great fighter in the ring but charismatic outside it. He can be outspoken, angry, very emotional but he also treats fighters with respect and you can see that with the way he has dealt with Leo Santa Cruz.
He's a very well spoken, well rounded guy with different elements to his character and it's the same in the ring. He can turn it on when he needs to and he understands that boxing is entertainment - if anyone went to boxing for the first time and went to a Carl Frampton fight they would be a lifelong boxing fan.
Should Frampton once again overcome the challenge of three-weight world champion Santa Cruz then Schaefer believes the 5ft 5in Belfast man will be a huge star Stateside.
"It's a huge step headlining in the boxing capital of the world… the MGM has propelled the careers of many fighters and it has shattered dreams as well. It does bring added pressure fighting in Vegas.
"Carl can make Las Vegas his home in America if he beats Santa Cruz and does it in spectacular style. He will really capture the fans, there's huge potential for him in the States."
Schaefer says he is delighted to be back in boxing after a couple of years away after the split with De la Hoya and recently agreed a promotional deal with former World heavyweight champion David Haye, while he is also keen to work with Frampton and many other fighters in the future.
"I think boxing is like a drug for the promoters as much as the fighters. You look at Don King, Bob Arum who are in the mid 80s and still working.
"I was not a huge boxing fan when I got started with Oscar De la Hoya but I have to say that nothing compares to a big world title fight.
"I have been to World Cup finals, NBA finals, the Superbowl and nothing matches a major fight - especially a World championship match like Carl Frampton against Leo Santa Cruz," added Schaefer.
"After my time away I felt that I had to come back. I feel there is a market for me, I think there is a void that I can fill in the promotion of fighters.
"I think that it's exciting that there is more boxing on television now and I have been welcomed back by the fans and fighters. Directly or indirectly 150 fighters have been in touch so that shows me that they appreciate the work I have done in the past - and one of those fighters was Leo Santa Cruz."
Schaefer wasn't making any predictions about how the re-match between Frampton and Santa Cruz would finish, only that once again it should match up to everyone's high expectations of another memorable duel.
"Frampton and Santa Cruz put on a memorable performance in July and battled from the opening bell. It was Frampton who took home the belt last time, but I expect that Leo will train to be 100 percent and do everything in his power to get his title back.
"I believe this could be an even better fight than the first one and if Leo wins, can you imagine a stadium fight in Belfast for the third one between these two, that would be great."