While Errol Spence Jr celebrated his victory over Yordenis Ugas in front of over thirty-five thousand paying fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas it was clear that the man who was responsible for guiding the career of Spence Jr from the very beginning would not be making any public statements at the post-fight press conference.
As has been the case since Al Haymon first became involved with boxing, he has eschewed the spotlight in favour of letting his fighters get the attention from the media. While an early fixture on HBO broadcasts, as the years went on and the number of fighters he managed grew it was rare that he would appear on camera even when he was at the fights. The man who is now the representative of Al Haymon’s interests is Sam Watson who has worked with Al Haymon for forty-four years. Fight fans will be familiar with seeing Sam in the ring or at times one or both of Sam’s sons(who are not twins,either).
But despite being portrayed as some recluse, it was clear from those early years that Mr. Haymon had a very strong affinity for his fighters. As witnessed in the aftermath of the fight that started it all, Vernon Forrest’s victory over Shane Mosley on January 26th, 2002.
One would think that the entrance into the sport of someone who did not spend all of their time sucking the air out of the room in pronouncing how their singular genius is the reason for a fighter’s success would be welcomed in boxing. Yet Mr. Haymon has been met with a wave of hatred that is stunning even when one understands the roots of this vilification.
Far from being some “shadowy figure” or whatever quasi-racist language writers like to toss around whenever they do a story on the man, not being at the forefront is the norm for the business where Al came from. As has been documented in great detail elsewhere, Al Haymon got his start in the music promotion business. A business where those that promote tours are almost never talked about nor do they normally seek attention outside of a select few like Bill Graham.
Unlike boxing, the music world had nothing but praise for the way Al Haymon conducted business. He grew his promotion business into multiple companies that would handle every aspect of putting on concerts. He was heralded for his reputation of being able to put shows on no matter the schedule in a professional manner.
So Where Does It Come From?
As mentioned in my previous article concerning the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, the foundation for this hatred of Al Haymon in the boxing world really starts with Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions. This hilariously pro-Arum piece from 2008 provides most of the history. While almost everyone is familiar with the buyout clause that enabled Floyd Mayweather Jr to leave Top Rank, how it came to be is rarely discussed.
In the early part of this century, HBO, Top Rank and Mayweather were bound by a singular three-way contract. HBO informed Top Rank that they were terminating the contract. Arum then sued HBO, Haymon, Mayweather and Goosen-Tutor Promotions for promoting the Sharmba Mitchell fight without his consent. But that lawsuit was quickly withdrawn when Mayweather agreed to a two-fight contract with the buyout clause being included.
After the Zab Judah fight, six months after signing the new contract, Mayweather enacted the buyout clause and began his run to becoming the biggest fighter in the history of the sport. There’s also some irony to this moment in time as HBO went from wanting to work solely with Mayweather and Haymon to trotting out Max Kellerman to blame Al Haymon and try to disguise the reality that HBO had begun the massive cost cuts to their boxing segment that would eventually see them exit the sport. It was a lot easier to blame the black guy a decade ago!
Where's The Vindication?
I know, I know! I am getting to the main point. I just had to lay down a bit of foundation so I can just reference this article in the future when I want to trash the takes of various pundits. Think of the above section as the sausage making for future fine-tasting mockery.
The true vindication of Al Haymon came about when The US Treasury Department stated that Daniel Kinahan and his family and associates had been sanctioned for being participants in an ongoing drug-trafficking organization. For the very same writers that carried water for Bob Arum and bolstered his claims against Haymon, from the Public Relations man masquerading as a writer Steve Kim to the always clueless Kevin Iole, had said little to nothing as Arum went on a press tour to support working with a murderous drug cartel. Why some of them did not speak up until it was time for Arum to try to spin himself as a victim.
Daniel Kinahan was free to operate in boxing for a decade while doing the very same things that writers and promoters were falsely ranting that Haymon had brought to the sport. Kinahan was a criminal, Kinahan was working behind the scenes, Kinahan was operating as a manager and promoter. Yet in another fine example of the journalistic integrity in boxing this was the question most on the mind of people like Iole.
This is an interview I did with @EddieHearn today where we talked @DAZN_USA price increase, business model & future, who looks better in a turtleneck, Eddie or @MikeCoppinger and the heavyweight picture https://t.co/mGwFQCWcqm Check it out. He was very open— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) March 22, 2019
Well you can see why Iole would only care about which is the better fashion icon in boxing. I mean, it’s not like Eddie Hearn has any connections to Daniel Kinahan.
@djk256 with @MatthewMacklin and Eddie Hearn @Boardwalkmarb enjoying lunch! pic.twitter.com/CGGt7VoQ8X— The Boardwalk (@Boardwalkmarb) July 2, 2014
It is long past time for some boxing pundits to decide if they are racist or just stupid. Because continuing to cast blame on Haymon and PBC, an outfit run by a black man that employs a lot of black people, is making them look like they’re trying to get their articles done in time to still make the Klan meeting. Such as this statement from today’s punching bag.
You’re right Kevin! That wily Haymon and Espinoza are to blame if this fight isn’t made! Not those government sanctions against Crawford’s advisor that you just wrote about and linked to in this very same piece! Top notch thinking from the man who used George Foreman to attack Terence Crawford’s lawsuit against Top Rank.
Errol Spence Jr’s victory was a confirmation of Al Haymon’s vision for the sport. For Errol has never been signed to a promoter and never worked with any other manager other than Haymon. From the start of his professional career he’s followed the path laid out by Al and has become the biggest draw in the welterweight division.
Maybe this is what is really at the heart of the hatred for PBC? For in the very first conversation Errol had with Al Haymon as he was getting ready to turn professional, Al asked him, “What are you going to do when you are done boxing?”.
Promoters and middle-men know that Haymon is a threat to their way of business. For what he really brings is education to a group of people that have suffered decades of exploitation. From musicians to athletes, Haymon has shown them they do not need to accept being used for the betterment of others and has taught them the ways of business to better themselves and their families.
The real fright for the hucksters of the boxing world is that the next generation will not just be learning about knock-outs and belts from their heroes fighting today. What keeps these sideshow barkers awake at night is thinking about how the next generation will be learning about percentages and negotiations.
Do you really expect Al Haymon to take time out of his day to explain this? He’s too busy teaching it to the people who matter.