Al Haymon has become one of boxing’s most powerful figures. With over $100 million in funding and earnings, he’s been able to shift the boxing scene as he see’s fit. Though Haymon doesn’t serve as a promoter but rather an advisor to some of boxing’s biggest stars like Floyd Mayweather Jr., you’ll hear his calling card at the end of a fight “I’d like to thank Al Haymon for this fight…”
As is true in any industry that runs the way of a monopoly, customer satisfaction can lag and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just ask anyone currently signed up with Comcast or Time Warner. 2014 was a bad year for boxing. Mismatches were everywhere and fights were going unmade that should’ve otherwise happened and the majority of these fights included Haymon fighters.
Danny Garcia serves as the best example. He currently holds the WBA, WBC, and Ring light welterweight titles. Last August he fought someone who’s ranking was so low that his championship titles were unable to be sanctioned for the bout. This came on the heels of a fight against Maurico Herrera, who was also not the biggest opponent that he could’ve been matched up against- and he almost lost that fight (some analysts scored Herrera the winner).
Boxers he wasn’t facing included Ruslan Provodnikov, Adrien Broner, and an exciting rematch with Lucas Matthysse. IBF champion Lamont Peterson was another boxer in the division who wasn’t exactly fighting big competition recently either and was also managed by Al Haymon. With both fighter’s also boxing on the same network (Showtime) the fight looked simple to make for the unification of the three titles.
The months passed by as Peterson, Broner, and Garcia, all Haymon fighter’s, fought nobody of interest. Then the WBC ordered a fight between Garcia and #1 ranked contender Viktor Postel. Postel was given “step aside” money and that fight was never made either. The winter rolled through and everyone took a vacation apparently as nobody fought.
Out of nowhere Al Haymon seemed to do it; he’s going to save boxing! A deal was made to bring a number of fights to basic cable on NBC for more fighter’s to be showcased to the general public who otherwise don’t subscribe to HBO, Showtime, or buy the PPV bouts. Who do you think was given one of the first main event fights on NBC? Danny Garcia vs Lamont Peterson. Suddenly it started to make sense. Haymon was saving the big fights until he could get his deal with NBC locked down, right?
Well what do you do when you have two world champion boxers and you don’t want either one of them to lose but you know they should fight? You make the fight at a catchweight of 143lbs and you don’t make it a championship bout. Now when one of your boxer’s lose they can still be the champion in their next fight, still be a possible main event draw, and still make Al Haymon loads of money.
What about the sanctioning bodies? They’ve been involved in discussions for the past year about how to make unified champions in each division. How would they respond? Would they strip them of their titles or issue a statement requiring defense or a date by which to defend their titles? Here’s what the WBC told No Sparring via twitter:
While there’s been no more movement on the matter other than a lot of angry fans, pessimistic boxing media, and dodgy statements from Danny Garcia on why he won’t defend or relinquish the championship title’s, we can all be sure that Haymon made his move and the IBF, WBA, and WBC blinked.