By: Sean Crose
“How come you never really hear, or see PBC head honchos involved in all of the dramatic bullshit with fighters, and other promoters, like Eddie Hearn, Bob Arum, and others, are always involved in some bullshit. Why?”
So trainer Eric Kelly recently asked on Instagram. Frankly it’s a good question. Why indeed is PBC, an outlet run by Al Haymon, seemingly never in a feud with any of its fighters? What is it about Haymon, or about his business, that brings about such loyalty? For years, many in the fight world have viewed the Harvard educated Haymon with suspicion. Now, a full six years after PBC – otherwise known as Premiere Boxing Champions – emerged onto the scene, it’s worth wondering if such suspicion is warranted.
For the truth is, Haymon is spoken highly of by the fighters who work with him – very highly. Virtually no one complains about getting a raw deal or being unappreciated. That frankly isn’t the case with other big players in the fight game. Haymon’s empire has been taken to court, both literally and in the court of public opinion, but is still standing. If PBC is engaged in shady practices, it does one heck of a job camouflaging them. Haymon, after all, has been under intense scrutiny for years, both by journalists and competitors alike.
Some of the mistrust, of course, has to do with Haymon’s intensely private nature. He doesn’t do interviews, and he certainly isn’t keen on being filmed, videotaped, or photographed by the media. In a sport like boxing, which raises eyebrows on a regular basis, any deviation from the norm is viewed through coolly narrowed eyes.
Is that fair, though? PBC can be frustrating in that some of its fighters have seemed to be more focused on the business end of the boxing business than on the sport itself. There’s nothing illegal in that, however. What’s more, PBC fighters generally DO tend to actually challenge themselves, if not as quickly as the public would like them to. Deontay Wilder, for instance, has faced Tyson Fury Twice. Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia – top names all – have faced off. New arrival Manny Pacquiao has certainly challenged himself since becoming part of the PBC team. Errol Spence stands accused by some of avoiding Terence Crawford, but there’s no denying he’s faced legitimate opposition like Porter, Mikey Garcia, Chris Algieri and Kell Brook. In fact, Spence went to England to win Brook’s title in Brook’s own back yard.
Perhaps in the end, it’s worth remembering Haymon is a real life person, replete with positive and negative qualities, just like the rest of us. It’s sometimes hard to remember that due to what could be called Haymon’s privacy aura. As things stand, though, the guy must be judged by the fruits of his labors, not through the lens of projection or suspicion.