The Hallmarks of Al Haymon

By Sean Ness on January 19, 2016
The Hallmarks of Al Haymon
Anything that challenges the regime at Sky Sports can only be a good thing in my opinion.

Should Haymon follow through on his plans for PBC in the UK I believe it will be welcomed with open arms from fight fans in this country…

Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Champion’s brand are synonymous with hand delivering the opportunity to view boxing for free via terrestrial television in North America. TV stations including NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, Spike, and Bounce TV have all showcased the brand that includes some of the current premier names in the sport of boxing today. Despite lawsuits and negative reports over Haymon’s business practices Premier Boxing Champions has secured the nation’s interest in boxing, bringing new fans to the sport in the process. The no-frills stripped back ring walks haven’t been overly welcomed by boxing fans but in the ring is where it matters most. The rest is irrelevant. Many people are wondering if Al Haymon’s plans for the future include making a move on terrestrial TV abroad and in particular, the United Kingdom.

I believe he already has made a move.

Saturday, 16th January saw the return of former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion David Haye after a three and a half year layoff. In a one-sided contest, Haye made the first steps on the road to regaining his title as a serious player in heavyweight boxing. His opponent, Mark de Mori, was out cold before he hit the canvas. In his post-fight interview, The Hayemaker expressed his delight at returning to boxing in front of a sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in London with the broadcasting right’s going to a TV station by the name of Dave.

Dave is a free to air channel and has been broadcasting under its current form since September 2007 with the primary focus of its viewing content aimed at making people laugh. With re-runs of British TV comedy classics such as Red Dwarf, The Thick of It, Top Gear and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, it has proved a success with TV audiences up and down the country. The station has never broadcast anything live, nevermind a sporting event, so one has to wonder how it managed to secure the rights to screen a former world champion’s much anticipated and publicized comeback?

Just little over one year ago, Kugan Cassius of IFL TV and BoxNation conducted an interview with David Haye in America where he was allegedly back in training. Kugan asked David if he could clarify the situation on the growing rumours that he was about to sign with Al Haymon. Despite refusing to confirm or deny the rumors, David did make some subtle hints that something major was taking place while he was in the US.

“Lots of stuff’s been going on behind the scenes,” he said. “Good stuff, positive. Stuff moving forward. I haven’t signed anything with anybody as yet. I’ve not signed anything official. I haven’t signed anything regarding any promoter, manager, trainer, adviser, shrink, psychiatrist; I haven’t signed anything with anybody. When I do start signing stuff, which should be not too long away, I’ll let everyone know.”

Fast forward to October 2015. Various media outlets in this country ran the story that according to several sources in the United States, Al Haymon was planning an assault on the British TV market in the same approach as before. Former BT Chief Executive Marc Watson was reported to be involved with Haymon. His role was to lay the groundwork with various TV stations and discussed the idea of PBC fights broadcasting on their channel. Richard Poxon has previously worked as a matchmaker for Ricky Hatton’s company and is also believed to be involved the British side of PBC. Both men were present at James Degale’s press conference announcing his fight with Lucian Bute.

My theory is by no means outside the realms of possibility but of course, I am merely speculating. Could Dave’s debut into professional boxing have been a road test for future shows with Premier Boxing Champions debuting in the UK? If it was then it passed with flying colours. Figures just released have confirmed a successful night for the station. Live boxing peaked at 3 million viewers with an average of 1.3 million people tuning in for the two-hour show. Dave’s Parent company UKTV’s director of commissioning Richard Watsham has signalled the company’s ambition of continuing to broadcast future sporting events, dispelling any thoughts that Saturday’s events were a one-off.

“Our ambition continues to grow in terms of the variety and quality of our programming and appointment to view TV remains at the top of our wish list.”—Richard Watsham UKTV/Dave

Putting my theory to the side, should Haymon follow through on his plans for PBC in the UK I believe it will be welcomed with open arms from fight fans in this country; still, I won’t hold hope for Eddie Hearn doing cartwheels in celebration of any forthcoming plans. But anything that may challenge the current regime at Sky can only be a good thing in my opinion.

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  1. Clarence George 03:33pm, 01/19/2016

    You’re quite right, Jim, that too many of PBC’s matches have been meh, however welcome the concept.  There just hasn’t been the viewership to attract advertisers.  If that doesn’t change, PBC will run out when the Haymon money does.  Could it be, will it be, more successful in the UK?  Yeah, maybe.

  2. Jim Crue 12:44pm, 01/19/2016

    Well Sean, I am sad that you in the UK will be subjected to Haymon’s debacles. 90% of the fights he presents on TV here in the USA are glorified sparing matches with who ever is Haymon’s favorite set up to win. Some of these shows are 4 hours long and not ONE competitive fight.
    Mr Clarence George makes the point about lack off ad revenue. It seems Haymon is pouring through his investors money like pouring water out of a bottle. When he runs out of his investors money you can be sure he will have never missed a paycheck. Be prepared to be bored.

  3. Clarence George 06:27am, 01/19/2016

    The problem with PBC (aside from eschewing ring card girls, which I believe is what they call it these days) is the lack of ad revenue.  If that doesn’t change, boxing on “free” TV will soon go the way of the aforementioned ring card girls.

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