Here comes Al Haymon’s army.
Haymon sends several waves to invade the West Coast and Chicago, beginning with a boxing card built with several new prospects from California on Thursday Dec. 4, at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa, California. It’s a small card of young prospects that includes brothers Kevin and Tevin Watts, Joshua Conley, Manny Robles Jr., Mark Anthony Hernandez and Luis Mora.
It won’t be televised nationally but these are young fighters just beginning to show what they can do. Of course they’ll be matched against fighters with less than stellar qualifications on the Roy Englebrecht Events boxing card. All promoters do that.
The advisor nonpareil needs fight cards to put his army of fighters on before the end of the year. Many have contracts that dictate they fight so many fights in a year. More importantly, he needs television to show their talent. He won’t get that on the Orange County show unless it’s local cable.
More than 100 fighters have signed contracts with the advisor who has in recent years guided the career of Floyd Mayweather Jr. It reminds me of the 1950s, when boxing was controlled by one small group of men and things like rankings, world title fights, and television were under their control. In Haymon’s case, he’s trying to secure television for his fighters. He has NBC Sports Network and shares Showtime with Golden Boy Promotions.
The second wave takes place at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA. It’s about 60 miles from Costa Mesa and on this ESPN2 card Haymon has five former world champions rebooting on the 13-fight card. That’s a lot of world champions.
East L.A.’s Sergio Mora lives closest to the fight card. He will drive about 80 miles away to Temecula but the rest of the large fight card come from out-of-state. Mora recently signed with Haymon but he’s not close to being the main event.
The actual main event is kind of a mystery. But most of the boxers are signed with Haymon.
Austin Trout, Antonio Tarver, Johnathan Banks, Rico Ramos and Mora are the former world champions showing off their skills. But who will be televised?
Somebody will be upset if their fight’s blacked out.
That’s the problem of having too many fighters, like the old lady in the shoe, who didn’t know what to do.
The third wave takes place in San Antonio, Texas on Friday, Dec. 12, where Erislandy Lara meets Ishe Smith for the WBA junior middleweight world title. Don’t fall asleep. Somebody may punch somebody. Showtime will televise.
Wave number four hits cold Chicago on Friday, Dec. 12, where several more young Haymon prospects, Rau’shee Warren, Thomas Williams Jr., Robert Easter and Javontae Sparks step up to fill a boxing card at UIC Pavilion. It’s a large card.
The final and fifth wave takes place in good old Las Vegas at the MGM Grand on Saturday, Dec. 13. Amir Khan faces Devon Alexander in a battle between Haymonites. Other Haymon boxers are the brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo, Abner Mares, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence. Most of these will be televised by Showtime, but not all.
Buying fights for his boxers is something that Haymon has been doing for awhile but never to this extent. Most of the fights in the lower rung are paid by Haymon and that’s a lot of money. How long can he afford to pay those boxing purses? It’s the reason he needs more television and why he’s still working with Golden Boy Promotions, they have television and that’s like gold.
Who will buy those tickets for the card, especially when Top Rank and Golden Boy simultaneously have a fight card across the way at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas? Former champion Tim Bradley fights Diego Chaves and Golden Boy’s Mauricio Herrera battles unproven Jose Benavidez. Where will the fans go?
All these Haymon boxers wanted to jump on the bandwagon but it could crumble from overcrowding. Time will tell.
It kind of reminds me of Don King in the good old days. He would start a boxing card at 10 a.m. and finish at 1 a.m. By the time I would go back to the hotel to sleep I was entrenched with dreams of boxing. Anyone following all of Haymon’s fighters could feel the same way.