The World vs. Al Haymon

By Robert Ecksel on July 2, 2015
The World vs. Al Haymon
TMZ may not be the last word, but you can bet your bottom dollar it's the first word.

I’m not sure when words stopped having meaning, but until triple-talk becomes the new normal, doubletalk, in all its reassuring familiarity, with have to do…

“We don’t have a monopoly. Anyone who wants to dig a well without a Hughes bit can always use a pick and shovel.”—Howard Hughes

Can anyone recall when boxing wasn’t a cutthroat business?

I’m not the only one who longs for the good old days, when black was black, when white was white, when good was distinguishable from bad, when fraudulence wasn’t mistaken for sincerity, when concern for the fighter took precedence over the bottom line.

But of course those good old days, especially as concerns boxers and boxing, never existed. Those halcyon days are an illusion, a product of fertile minds, wishful thinking, a figment of the imagination.

Boxing is a rough and tumble sport run by rough and tumble men. That was true yesterday. It is true today. It will be true tomorrow. A little more than a century ago, boxing was illegal. But even when boxing ceased being illegal, when fighters no longer had to be one step ahead of the law, men like Hugh D. McIntosh, Tex Rickard, Jim Norris, Joe Jacobs, Frankie Carbo, Don King, and Bob Arum, to name a few, ruled, and in some cases continue to rule, boxing with an iron fist. And if that iron fist was/is shrouded in a velvet glove, well, so much the better for the sake of appearance.

The latest man to join that starry roster is Al Haymon whose Premier Boxing Champions is, without resorting to hyperbole, ripping it up. Backed by gobs of capital and augmented by vision, he has exposed the complacency of those who have ridden roughshod over the sport, whatever their stated intentions. I don’t know the man personally, but chances are he’s no angel, which should come as no surprise. What, after all, would an angel be doing in this devilish sport of ours, unless he was undercover and/or passing?

We live in a time where money defines who we are, at least until such time as it defines who we are not. The rules of capital, insofar as there are any rules of capital, are that winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing. The robber barons of the past are no different than the robber barons of the future. Their names may change. The means of production may change. But intention lasts forever.

According to a recent blurb on TMZ Sports, “Manny Pacquiao’s manager Bob Arum is declaring war on Floyd Mayweather’s promoter—claiming the guy is ‘rigging the boxing industry’ ... and taking aim at everyone, including Jay Z.”

TMZ may not be the last word, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s the first word, and say what you will about a society on the skids, they’re adept at loading a sentence with eye-catching names to attract people for whom boxing is an afterthought.

“Arum’s Top Rank boxing promotions company just filed a $100 MILLION lawsuit against Al Haymon—who many consider the most powerful man in boxing. According to the suit, Top Rank claims Haymon has been using unsavory tactics to monopolize the boxing industry—including illegally blocking fights, blocking venues and freezing out other promoters, including Top Rank and Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports company.”

One hundred million dollars, or $100 MILLION if you prefer, isn’t chicken feed, but attempts to “monopolize the boxing industry” by using “unsavory tactics” is not only nothing new, it’s the way boxing has always been run.

“Top Rank claims Haymon—who ‘famously runs his empire from an old school flip phone’—is leveraging his impressive client list (which includes Mayweather, Adrian [sic] Broner, Danny Garcia and more) to monopolize the boxing industry.”

Redundancy and misspelling, thy name is TMZ Sports.

Arum isn’t the first person to try to derail the Al Haymon juggernaut. Golden Boy Promotions Founder and Chairman Oscar De La Hoya, Arum’s former charge turned competitor turned nemesis turned best friend, is also suing Al Haymon, and as befits a former fighter, he beat Arum to the punch.

On May 6, 2015, Golden Boy Promotions filed a $300 million lawsuit against Al Haymon alleging violation of antitrust laws and the toothless Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.

In response to Arum’s $100 MILLION lawsuit, De La Hoya, having just drawn down the curtain on the Kabuki Theater concerning his alleged comeback, released a statement supporting Top Rank’s action.

“I applaud Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing for stepping up on behalf of fighters not only in their own stable, but all across the sport. Those like Bob and myself who have spent the bulk of their lives around boxing understand that the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act is a crucial piece of legislation that serves to protect boxers and enhance the sport. Golden Boy Promotions will continue to push forward with our own lawsuit to ensure our wonderful sport continues to grow in a competitive, just manner.”

I’m not sure when words stopped having meaning, but until triple-talk becomes the new normal, doubletalk, in all its reassuring familiarity, with have to do.

Al Haymon doesn’t speak with the press, and for good reason. But the law firm representing Haymon released a statement concerning this latest turn of events.

“On behalf of our clients Alan Haymon, Haymon Boxing LLC, Haymon Sports LLC and Haymon Holdings LLC:

“The lawsuit filed today by Bob Arum and Top Rank is entirely without merit and is a cynical attempt by boxing’s old guard to use the courts to undermine the accessibility, credibility and exposure of boxing that the sport so desperately needs.

“The Premier Boxing Champions series makes boxing free again, by bringing championship boxing to free TV, with a fighter-first promise and a commitment to the fans to restore boxing to the luster of its heyday. The continued success of this effort will far outlast this baseless lawsuit.”

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:30am, 07/03/2015

    I’m still trying to figure out how he got the Waddell and Reed money…..looks like Caldwell got him the money while he was with W&D and then left to be Haymon’s partner. About 13 Billion has been pulled from W&D funds in the last year maybe the quarter of a billion he’s playing with is part of that drain. Either way he’s slicker than snot and probably got good grades while at Harvard Business School unlike some other megalomaniac we know.

  2. AKT 01:55am, 07/03/2015

    I’m surprised no one is talking about the fighters’ well-beings. Isn’t this what Oscar De lahoya is so concerned about with his constant references to the Muhammad Ali act?

    Ever since the Al Haymon show started, I have NEVER heard any boxer complain about how they are treated by this boxing manager! How about we pay attention to the fighters for a minute?

    Numerous cases of fighters wanting to desperately get out of their contracts with Arum and in the past Don King has destroyed fighters’ lives by his underhanded tactics.

    Haymon probably ain’t no saint but I’ll bloody well say it. Boxing needs change and from where I’m sitting Haymon is a breath of fresh air.

    Until he messes up, I’m with team Haymon.

    Peace.

  3. Art 09:11pm, 07/02/2015

    Since Al Haymon started with FLoyd Mayweather and Ellerbe, they have been siphoning fighters from other promoters, especially from Golden Boy Promotions, via Schaffer and Ellerbe to Al Haymon.  Hence the mediation between Schaffer and GBP that was settled out of court.  Now though, all those fighters that GBP had are with Al Haymon.  Seems from one day to the next, they were with Haymon.  That is underhanded and illegal.  You’ll hear more about this when the truth comes out.  Unless, Haymon pulls a Mayweather and settles out of court and the truth will NOT come out.  No matter how badly FM beat his women or Haymon cheated others a settlement usually obscures the truth.

  4. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:31pm, 07/02/2015

    He wants a monopoly that’s true….but more than that he wants to fundamentally transform boxing. In addition to everything else it looks like he got the CSAC in his pocket…. probably the NSAC and the NYSAC too.

  5. SeanNess 11:41am, 07/02/2015

    Excellent article Robert. I think Haymon’s lack of transparency over his intentions with PBC, ultimately ensues cynicism. IMO he is going to eventually exclude all the boxing organisations from his shows. His end game, again IMO is monopolising the sport and I tend to agree with Arum and De La Hoya.

  6. AKT 09:54am, 07/02/2015

    The bully burst into tears as he looked up at his newly acquired oppressor. “But I only punched him in the belly once,” looking in the direction of a skinny kid at a distance, “but you slapped my face twice!”

    Fantastic, apt article. Thanks Mr. Ecksel. Classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  7. KB 08:55am, 07/02/2015

    Great opening quote. Great

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