It is fair to say Al Haymon has somewhat altered the previously unblemished complexion of boxing.
The opening PBC card on March 7th many believed began the decay of normal world title belts, and a clear line of division is now appearing in boxing in which Al Haymon fighters are perched on the safe side and everyone else is leaning precariously on the other, awaiting their inevitable fall.
This whole new PBC on NBC initiative threatens to derail boxing and transform it into a sport spearheaded by an anonymous man (or entity if you believe the conspiracies) who inexplicably lurks on the periphery of the sport.
He does not speak to the media, he does not attend fights, and he does not, most alarmingly, seem to have a particular vested interest In boxing, rather making money through whatever means possible. Is this man really suitable to lead boxing into a new era?
Honestly, we don’t know enough about him to answer that question with any degree of certainty, and that is the problem. Many compare his business model to Dana White’s in the UFC, but they are, in reality, utterly incompatible.
White is an affable and accessible leader of the company who has a sincere passion for fighting. He ensures the biggest fights are made in the UFC and has a good relationship with the media – an intrinsic facet to a successful business model.
Haymon, by contrast, advocates farcical fights like Garcia-Salka, has rocky relationships with just about every prominent promoter in the sport and is embroiled in a bitter feud with the USA’s biggest network.
It is great that boxing is now is back on mainstream television in the US and it is great that more people will watch it. But Haymon continues to disregard the one thing that makes this sport great: the hardcore fans.
Whilst it would be no means an abject misery if Oscar De La Hoya were to be forced out the sport, this prospect is becoming increasingly likely due to Haymon now having amassed over 100 fighters under his management, many of whom were previously promoted by Golden Boy. This has occurred to an extent whereby Top Rank and Golden Boy, the two biggest largest promotional companies have severely depleted stables.
Say what you will about De La Hoya and Bob Arum, but the abolition of these huge promotional companies cannot be good for the sport. Boxing must not be turned into something it is not.
The world title belts, while often needlessly confusing, embody the history of the sport, and they must not be discarded as Haymon intends them to be in this persisting act of recalcitrance.