By Sean Crose
According to an article at BoxingScene boxing promoter Kathy Duva has made an extremely bold statement regarding fight guru Al Haymon. “He’s promised NBC that he’s (Haymon’s) going to take his fighters off premium cable,” the site quotes Duva as saying. “He’s going to put Showtime and HBO out of the puzzle.” Strong words. Very strong words.
Surprising ones, too. Haymon has earned himself a reputation of being a puppet master who’s impervious to the wants of traditional boxing fans. To now read that Haymon intends to make his fighters free and easily available to the public therefore comes as something of a shock. Yet Duva, appears firm in her belief.
“He’s going to do away with pay per view and create an over-the-top network,” she goes on to state in the article. Haymon may not be popular at the moment, but if Duva’s right, he’s one of the boxing’s biggest movers and shakers since Tex Rickard.
Rickard, famous for promoting the bouts of Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey, brought boxing to mainline America in a way that had never been done before. The sport may have moved away from mainline America since that time, but it looks as if Haymon just may be trying to move it back.
Of course, people have to wonder what kind of fights they could expect from free-cable Haymon cards. Mayweather-Alvarez or Broner-Maidana type battles would be wonderful. Seeing Danny Garcia fight Rod Salka on any outlet, however, would be abysmal. If Duva’s right and Haymon is going to move away from pay per view, does that mean the public will now be able to watch great fights for free?
Or does it simply mean that Haymon fighters will never engage in great matchups? Mayweather-Guerrero may have been worthy of the NBC Sport’s network, but is that the biggest kind of bout fans would be able to expect from Haymon? It’s hard to imagine so, but one never knows.
Give Haymon this – if what Duva says is true, the guy is putting his money where his mouth is. Any attempt to bring boxing back into the mainstream is going to be a risky endeavor. To try to do so while neglecting pay-per-view entirely could be seen as outright suicidal from a financial standpoint.
If Duva is to be believed, however, NBC might at least be willing to give Haymon a chance. The company will possibly air at least some of the Haymon backed fights on its flagship network – during “primetime.” Wow. “If he’s (Haymon’s) successful,” says Duva, “all the networks will want boxing.”
And if he’s not? Duva seems to shudder at the thought. “I pray he doesn’t blow it,” the article quotes her as saying. No matter how it all turns out, of course, it’s at least fun to imagine Haymon’s stable on an NBC outlet. Keith Thurman. Shawn Porter. Danny Garcia. Deontay Wilder. Adrien Broner. It’s nice to think about watching such men do battle without a fifteen dollar a month fee.
Of course no one knows how all this will turn out. Duva is a trusted figure, but she’s not Haymon himself (who pretty much doesn’t talk to the media). What’s more, no announcement from NBC, or anyone else for that matter, seems to have been made. Perhaps the scenario Duva has presented will never come to fruition. Then again…
Where Haymon’s most prized asset, Floyd Mayweather, would fit into all this (or if he even were to fit into it) is unknown. Mayweather’s still got two very lucrative fights left with Showtime. Perhaps, Haymon is looking beyond Floyd.