He’s a powerful figure in the boxing world. But even though there’s a lot of crossover between our two great sports, I’m guessing a lot of MMA fans don’t even know the name: Al Haymon.
He just hasn’t kept the high profile of folks like Top Rank’s Bob Arum or Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya, boxing’s pay-per-view “kings of the ring.” He also never dabbled in a big MMA league like Gary Shaw did with Elite XC, and well, he’s not Jay-Z either.
But Haymon, who is mostly known for his boxing events featured on Showtime and his work promoting Floyd Mayweather, Jr, is making what they call “power moves” lately — and his is a name you may just want to learn.
First came news that Haymon’s upcoming boxing series, Premier Boxing Champions, will be aired on NBC in 2015 as well as the NBCSN cable network. Per a NY Times report last month, Haymon is paying in upwards of $20 million annually to broadcast on NBC airwaves, with the first show set for March 7.
The deal is said to be for 20 events in total, with Adrian Broner and Robert Guerrero among the featured talent.
A week later came news of Haymon events to be held on Spike TV, in an arrangement similar to the one with NBC. Dan Rafael of ESPN reports that Haymon, “with tens of millions of dollars (some estimate he has as much as a $100 million war chest) from investors backing him, is buying the airtime to present bouts under the banner of his “Premier Boxing Champions” series, same as the NBC shows…” The first Spike TV event will be March 13, featuring Andre Berto vs. Josesito Lopez.
Now, Haymon is on his way to CBS as well, per RING Magazine. The first event will be April 4, with light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson defending against Sakio Bika.
Of course, Haymon is continuing to air events on Showtime, including Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (seen above left) vs. Andrzej Fonfara next month.
Some observers think Haymon is following a UFC game plan, gobbling up all available talent and cutting out the big players to corner the market for himself. It’s unclear what more power in the hands of few will do to the sport. But it will also be good to have the sweet science accessible to fans without cable again.
But it’s an interesting turn of events — so stay tuned.