By Scoop Malinowski
More evidence emerged this week that Al Haymon’s empire is crumbling. Bob Arum asserted in an interview with Boxing Talk founder Greg Leon that Arum is legally permitted to make offers to any Haymon controlled fighters.
This is a stunning revelation because it shows that Haymon has lost power and leverage and that he does not have total, exclusive control of his fighters.
Here is the interview exchange posted today at Boxingtalk.com…
Greg Leon: Assuming Terence Crawford takes care of Jeff Horn how long do you think it’s going to be before you’re able to match him with a PBC welterweight champion (Errol Spence, Keith Thurman)?
Bob Arum: “I’m not sure. We have the legal ability to talk to any of his (Al Haymon’s) fighters, if they want to fight with us that’s fine, if they don’t…
GL: That’s strong Bob, and I’ve heard that’s true.
BA: “That is true. A lot of the fighters that are being advised by him (Al Haymon) are coming to us to do fights for them and that’s completely legal and you know he’s got some good welterweights out there and we would be pleased to give them fights.”
GL: You’re kind of letting the cat out of the bag.
BA: “Why do you say that?”
GL: You know why (a few seconds of silence)… Because up until recently Al Haymon talent were considered untouchable and that’s no longer the case from what I’ve been hearing.
BA: “You’re absolutely right, it’s no longer the case. Legally speaking it is no longer the case.”
GL: So Arum [is saying] to Errol Spence and Keith Thurman, and all other interested Haymon talent, our phone lines are open, give us a call if you want to talk?
BA: “Any fighter that he has that’s interested, call us and then we’ll offer them a deal to fight whoever and they have an advisor in Al Haymon, so they’ll go back to Haymon and he’ll either advise them yes or no and then they could go on and do whatever the f**k they want. In other words, Haymon can’t veto it legally. He can tell them he doesn’t think it’s a good idea or he’s got a better fight, but he’s not legally allowed to forbid them from doing anything.”
The probable scenario is that Haymon will try to sweet talk his fighters who get offers from Arum (or other promoters) to wait and stay. Right now, Haymon’s only significant TV outlet appears to be Showtime and those dates are of a very limited quantity.
The big question is how long will Haymon be able to maintain his grip on his key fighters like Spence, Thurman, Danny Garcia, Stevenson, Gervonta Davis, Adrien Broner and Deontay Wilder who have all languished with minor fights and less than dazzling paydays.
With Arum and his long term deal with ESPNm it’s certainly possible that Haymon’s fighters could be lured away.
Right now, Haymon’s revenue stream is slow. Only Floyd Mayweather is generating big bucks. Perhaps that’s why rumors abound this week that Mayweather is in negotiations with Conor McGregor for a rematch.
Wilder is still a minor attraction despite his 39-0 record. Haymon is hoping Wilder will get a big push following his expected KO win over formidable Cuban Luis Ortiz next month. If Wilder does not, then he may have to be sacrificed soon to Anthony Joshua. Showtime and Stephen Espinoza so far have not offered Wilder and Haymon a long term guaranteed contract to lock down the Alabama man as a network staple.
But it can only be construed as very good news this week that Al Haymon fighters may soon have the option to take flight and escape their protective cages, and face off against the best fighters out there. Suddenly, Spence vs Crawford, Thurman vs Crawford, Stevenson vs Gvodzyk, Lomachenko vs Mikey Garcia, Wilder vs Joshua or Tyson Fury look one step closer to reality.
And professional boxing can become great again, finally eliminating Al Haymon’s resistance of constantly blocking super fight after super fight – and boxing can finally get back on track to making the best vs the best once again.