Goosen puts up a fight
July 13, 2007 -They're staging a world welterweight championship match Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson - at least the World Boxing Organization version of it - when a couple of tough guys named Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams step into the ring to do violent harm to each other with their fists.
Another fellow, a Mr. Dan Goossen, also will step into the ring - at least before the start of hostilities and at the conclusion - but this tall fellow with the shock of hair won't absorb any punishment.
But, oh, has boxing mightily tested his resolve across the years, sending him into heights of ecstasy when fighters who were aligned with him won and depths of despair when they lost.
"You're only as good in this sport as the fighters that work for you," says Goossen.
You see, Mr. Goossen is a promoter, the Fifth Beatle of boxing, overshadowed for years in his craft by the likes of Don King and Bob Arum and now Oscar De La Hoya.
And he accepts his fate with cool resignation.
"I've always realized what my position is," says Goossen, whose Goossen Tutor Promotions is putting on the long-awaited duel between Margarito and Williams that will be televised by HBO. "I'm not Don King
with the hair. I'm not Bob Arum who started off promoting for Muhammad Ali. And I'm not Oscar De La Hoya with the name.
"I'm just a guy who started off in this business sweeping out the boxing ring in our backyard when we first started the old Ten Goose organization that included several members of our family back in 1984. And then we got lucky with Michael Nunn (former middleweight champion)."
While King, Arum and now De La Hoya always have been at center stage basking in the limelight, Goossen has remained quietly in the background, nurturing the careers of people like Nunn and the Ruelas brothers, Rafael and Gabriel, in the early going and later at different times guiding the destinies of such men as Mike Tyson, David Tua, Vernon Forest, James Toney and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He has had his ups, downs and in betweens, but he always has survived in a mean sport in which few people stay around long as promoters, as a string of poor shows and financial stress oftentimes lead to their demise.
Dan Goossen not only has a knack for coming up with name recognition fighters, but also has been able to effect partnerships with fabulously wealthy men able to withstand the inevitable dark economic periods of boxing.
Everyone in life is imbued with a special skill.
Some people can fix cars blind-folded. Others can throw baseballs almost 100 mph. Still others can reduce you to tears with their sorrowful singing.
But Dan Goossen, he could be stuck in a blizzard in Siberia, and find a multi-millionaire sportsman obsessed with the sweet science who's desperate to get into the sport.
At least he did after he dissolved Ten Goose, which held monthly fights at the Reseda Country Club in the Valley for 10 years, and after he departed Arum's Top Rank group, for whom he served as vice president for a time.
For five years, he was in charge of America Presents, which was capitalized by the cable TV magnate, Bill Daniels.
Money was no object with America Presents, which reeled in Tyson and put on a lot of title fights.
When America Presents dissolved after Daniels' death, there were those fistic skeptics - and what a shameless redundancy that is! - who were blithely dismissing Goossen's chance of finding still another Mr. Moneybags enamored with boxing.
They should have known not to underestimate this 6-4, 57-year-old one-time basketball star at Notre Dame High who once handled affairs for Mr. T and who has a self-effacing sense of humor.
Goossen wound up joining forces with a gentleman named Ron Tutor, who just happens to own one of the largest construction firms in this country.
And, while Goossen Tutor Promotions might not have the glitz of Golden Boy Promotions, or the marquee power of Top Rank and Don King Productions, it has kept busy in recent years with James Toney's matches and many others, including the one between Floyd Mayweather and Carlos Baldomir.
Goossen wanted the Margarito-Williams showdown so badly that he emerged victorious over Arum with a $1.9 million purse bid that resulted in an out-of-court settlement with Arum, who's Margarito's promoter.
Margarito will be earning $1.6 million for Saturday's affair, while Williams will take home a mere $300,000.
"Paul will command a lot more money after he beats Margarito and wins the title," says Goossen, who, by the sheerest coincidence, is Williams' promoter. "He's a left-handed Thomas Hearns. A powerful puncher with great speed."
Of course, Williams (32-0, 24 KOs) never has met anyone like Margarito (34-4, 24 KOs), who has had seven successful title defenses and built up quite a reputation for himself that has been enhanced dramatically by Mayweather's well-publicized refusal to even consider fighting him.
"Mayweather has stayed clear of Margarito and he will stay clear of Paul Williams, too, after Paul beats Margarito," says Goossen, always a master at hyping one of his fighters as he certainly is when you listen to him discuss the young heavyweight from Riverside, Cristobal Arreola (20-0, 18 KOs).
"This kid has a chance to become the next heavyweight champion of the world," says Goossen of a 24-year-old, 6-3, 230 pounder who figures to pick up his 21st win Saturday night against one Derek Berry in a scheduled 10 rounder.
If Arreola does become a heavyweight champion, Dan Goossen will command leverage, as he periodically has throughout his fascinating career.
"There is a direct corollary between the success of a fighter and success of his promoter," he says. "In this business, you're always one left hook or straight right hand away from either making a lot of money or losing a lot."
Goossen Tutor Promotions