Al Haymon, But No Nudity

By Robert Ecksel on October 25, 2015
Al Haymon, But No Nudity
Playboy wasn’t just about art and philosophy and trumpeters on heroin. (Rory Kurtz)

As if to celebrate Playboy’s newfound seriousness it ran an article titled “Who Is Al Haymon, and What Has He Done to Boxing?”

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.”—Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner founded Playboy in 1953. In defiance of the blue-noses, whose offspring are with us today, he created a magazine deemed inappropriate for the button-down 1950s.

As he wrote in his first editor’s letter, “We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex ...”

Many a randy lad dreamed of stewardesses hopping in and out of bed between their inexorable flights to nowhere, talking dreamily of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Beyond Good and Evil while Chet Baker was spinning on the turntable.

But Playboy wasn’t just about art and philosophy and trumpeters hooked on heroin. Its main feature, and the reason Playboy was so scurrilous, were the nudes, the centerfolds, the fetching Playmates of the Month.

Heffner, a good Methodist boy at heart, understood, as he exposed and airbrushed and dutifully screwed scores of stacked young women, that the girl next door wasn’t a Mamie Eisenhower clone in waiting, and the smells coming from her oven weren’t tollhouse cookies.

Times changed and Playboy changed with them. Hi-fi and smoking jackets may have gone out of fashion, but sex is eternal and was as indispensable to Playboy’s vision as Donald Trump’s hair is to his profundity.

The Viagra-popping Hefner is now 89 and he has ceded responsibility for running the magazine to a younger generation sensitive to market trends. After much arm-twisting Hef agreed that Playboy would cease featuring nude women. As Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive, pointed out, “That battle has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

Hustler’s Larry Flynt, talking to CNN from the solid gold wheelchair where he’s been stranded since catching a puritanical assassin’s bullet in 1978, said, “Hefner is 90 now. I knew he was getting old. I didn’t know he lost his mind. How can you take the most important feature in the magazine and drop it—what it became notorious for? I think it was a silly move. They needed to change their financial blueprint. They have always approached Playboy from an artistic point of view because Hefner’s background is as an artist. But you have to run a magazine like a business. When you lose revenue you’ve got to cut your fixed costs. I make a profit whereas he loses money every month. Nobody can deny this guy paved the way for the sexual revolution, but he will not be remembered for his business acumen.”

As if to celebrate Playboy’s newfound seriousness (it was always serious if one could tear oneself away from the T&A), the magazine recently published an article by Tim Struby titled “Who Is Al Haymon, and What Has He Done to Boxing?”

We know who Al Haymon is. We also know he has revitalized boxing. So those questions have already been answered. But Struby isn’t writing for a boxing audience. He’s writing for a nudie magazine that no longer features nudes, and he treats Haymon less like the Holy Grail or boxing’s version of Greta Garbo than as a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

Scouring God knows what internet sites the author writes that Haymon “has been referred to as the Phantom, the Wizard of Oz, the new Don King, Keyser Söze, the Rasputin of Boxing and the most powerful man in sports.”

Traveling to Tampa in hopes of spotting Al Haymon, who avoids the press like the plague and who can blame him, Struby tromps over well traveled paths in a torturous attempt to reveal the man behind the mask. He details his early years in Cleveland and his connections to R&B, and the many fighters who treat him like a “deity,” but the real purpose of the article appears to be a hatchet job on the man “who shuns publicity and attention like a vampire avoids sunlight.”

The allusions are many and are not limited to Bela Lugosi and his blood-sucking ilk.

I’m not sure whose bidding the author is doing, but it’s not boxing’s, nor is it mine.

The complete Playboy article can be read here:

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to something important, like the mysterious case of Hugh Hefner’s vanishing nudes.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Read More Blogs
Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. FrankinDallas 11:42am, 10/26/2015

    Stella Stevens was Playgirl of the Month January 1960. She’s 80
    now, and still looks damn good. IMO she was the hottest woman
    on the planet back in the day. When she showed up in The Nutty
    Professor I had body parts doing stuff I didn’t know they could do.

  2. FrankinDallas 11:37am, 10/26/2015

    Wow….great painting!

  3. SweetScience 05:19am, 10/26/2015

    Eric… I am from Philadelphia (40 yrs old, and have lived in Albuquerque for the most recent 5 yrs… 2 great phight towns), and i have many brethren in B’More. I too feel what u feel, driving through Dundock, and all thru Port Town, and in between… All the “believe” signs that are painted/posted on every corner, almost mocks those that hurt too much to look up high enough to see these said signs. I feel ya.

  4. Eric 11:45am, 10/25/2015

    Irish…I was born in Baltimore and lived in Essex until we migrated to Florida when I was 13. It hurts me deeply to see what has become of Charm City. I still root for the O’s & Ravens even though the last time I was in Bmore was back in the mid-80’s. So much history in Baltimore, Baltimore was a key city in forming this nation, very sad to see what has happened to a once great town.  I hope it can make a comeback, but it looks like it could be the next Detoilet, Michigan. Rawlings-Blake has to be the most incompetent and idiotic mayor of any major city in America.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:05am, 10/25/2015

    Eric- I wonder what John Waters really thinks about his beloved Baltimore these days.

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:57am, 10/25/2015

    Mighty fine article….mighty fine indeed! Could care less about Playboy Bunnies….for my part, I’d like to get up close and personal with Dr. Ruth to see if she really knows her stuff….if you get my drift!

  7. Eric 09:23am, 10/25/2015

    Would like to see how some of the Playboy centerfolds that I used to drool over as a teenaper in the 70’s look today. Those hawties are now grannies. teehee.

Leave a comment