In post fight interviews, you’re very likely to hear “I’d like to thank Al Haymon” uttered by one of the pugilists, assuming of course that they are promoted by Mr. Haymon, boxing advisor/manager extraordinaire. Rare is the individual in the boxing world who doesn’t covet the spotlight but that’s Haymon, most likely an introverted type who most likely gets his energy from being alone or with few, rather than in crowds. He does his work behind the scenes leaving the spotlight to his fighters. A servant leader who would flourish in any business.
In 2013, Sports Illustrated named him one of the top 50 most powerful people in sports, coming in at 42. This former concert promoter and Harvard grad, with a growing stable of 150+ fighters, sent a shock through the boxing world last Wednesday when the long rumored partnership between his company Haymon Boxing and NBC Sports came to fruition with the announcement of, “Premier Boxing Champions” or the PBC on NBC.
Haymon’s brainchild of putting boxing back on network television, an old school approach that is welcome in an age of ballooning pay per view prices and premium channel fees. In order to bring the sport back near the top, it has to go back to its roots.
What took so long for this to happen? The root of all evil provides the answer.
The new series will televise twenty live cards in 2015, eleven on Saturday on NBC, six in the day and five at night in primetime, the balance being shown on NBC Sports Network, all in primetime.
Said Lamont Jones, Haymon’s vice president of operations,
“The way that I look at it is that if a customer goes to the grocery store and sees one steak that has USDA on it and one steak that doesn’t, they’re going to buy that USDA steak, so we want the fans to know that when they see a fight card and a series that has PBC on the telecast, that they’re going to know that can expect to see high quality and competitive matchups.”
True to their word, the inaugural card is explosive, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero vs. Keith “One-Time” Thurman and Adrien “The Problem” Broner vs. John Molina. Also announced was Danny “Swift” Garcia vs. Lamont “Havoc” Peterson on April 11.
This is amazing for the sport. Boxing back in the homes of the general public on primetime and on network TV. This makes for a stronger fan base and turns the combatants into househould names as it did in yesteryear. As long as all matchups are on par with the March 7 and April 11 fights, we are in for a sustained run.
Yes, I’d like to thank Al Haymon too.