Bob Arum’s Desperate War on Al Haymon

By Paul Magno on April 22, 2019
Bob Arum’s Desperate War on Al Haymon
The best way to sell this “they won’t fight my guy” angle is to poke at big, bad Al Haymon.

The Hall of Fame promoter is suddenly all about hurrying up and giving fans what they want for—sorry if I chuckle here—the betterment of the sport…

A boxing old-timer who knew a thing or two about making fights once told me that anyone negotiating a fight publicly, through the press, is engaging in “bullshit talk.”

And never let it be said that 80-something promoter Bob Arum is above said “bullshit” talk.

“We want to fight Errol Spence,” Arum exclaimed in the ring after his fighter, Terence Crawford, scored an anticlimactic TKO win via low blow over Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden Saturday night. “Terence wants it and I think Errol wants it…There is one guy stopping it and that’s Al Haymon. Every boxing fan should refuse to patronize Haymon’s fights until he agrees that Spence fights Crawford.”

“It’s inexcusable not to make fights that people want to see,” Arum would later tell media, presumably, with a straight face. He says this, of course, as the dust is still settling on his decision to take new Top Rank signee Tyson Fury out of an all-but-signed rematch with Al Haymon-advised Deontay Wilder in favor of softer-touch stepping stone bouts. Hell, it was Arum who pushed the term “marinate a fight” into the fight fans’ collective consciousness when explaining why fights that could and should be made, aren’t made. Nobody has “marinated” more fights with greater apparent glee (and derision towards fans’ desires) than Arum.

But, now, when it comes to Crawford-Spence, the Hall of Fame promoter is suddenly all about hurrying up and giving fans what they want for—sorry if I chuckle here—the betterment of the sport.

It’s not hard to understand why this is.

Arum’s calls for Crawford-Spence and his increasingly angry snipes at Haymon date back to February, perhaps not-so-coincidentally, when Crawford’s bout with Amir Khan was first announced to the public and established as a pay-per-view event.

With ESPN having ponied up a truckload of money to make Crawford one of the cornerstone fighters of their revamped boxing program, there’s suddenly pressure to make some money with the three-division world champ from Omaha, Nebraska.

These aren’t the old days of HBO, where the premium cable network suits had long stopped thinking of boxing as a direct profit-making venture and were handing out seven-figure in-the-red checks for the sake of history and saving face/maintaining prestige. ESPN is really coming at this boxing stuff like it wants to turn a profit, especially for its streaming service and brand new PPV branch. As such, ESPN wants salable fights that actually make money.

And that’s why Arum is publicly airing his soiled Depends and feigning rage over the total evilness of his totally evil arch nemesis, Haymon.

If Arum can convince the world that Crawford not getting big, legacy-defining fights is someone else’s fault, then he can get by with matching his guy against the lesser “in house” opposition available to him. He did it for years in selling Manny Pacquiao fights up against the image of a cowering, terrified Floyd Mayweather.

But since, in this case, Spence is a likable sort and a bit of a media darling, the best way to sell this “they won’t fight my guy” angle is to poke at the big guy, Al Haymon, who, conveniently enough, doesn’t speak publicly and won’t speak up for himself to deny anything Arum puts out there.

The size of the ESPN deal and what it means to Arum’s Top Rank promotional company is making him turn up the heat on this particular sleight of hand, going deep into racial politics.

“…You can hear what he’s gonna say,” Arum told media, referring to Haymon. “He’s gonna say, ‘Spence, listen to me. Don’t listen to the white guys, because if you listen to the white guys they’re gonna steer you down the road. Listen to me, brother. We’re part of a brotherhood. And if I tell you not to fight Crawford, I’m telling you not to fight Crawford.’ That’s exactly what he will say.”

Arum’s even trying to rally some sort of media lynch mob to battle the “bad guy.”

“Well, lemme just tell ya, you guys, you writers have to understand,” Arum said, “I don’t care what publications you write for, what website, who’s supporting it, Al Haymon won’t make fights. Wilder won’t fight Joshua. Why? Because of Al Haymon. Spence won’t fight Crawford, not because of Spence, but because of Al Haymon. He’s running a scam and a company, and people have to realize that. He is ruining the sport of boxing…

“He is a scamster and unless he’s called out, and unless you people (boxing writers) get off your ass and call him out, it’s gonna continue. I really put a lot of the blame on the boxing writers. It is inexcusable not to make fights that people wanna see. It’s inexcusable…”

Arum is clearly angry-aggressive like never before and decades of his professional history tells us that he simply doesn’t get this fired up over fights not getting made or things that are in the best interest of the sport. Maybe he’s had a change of heart when it comes to handling Crawford, who is clearly “the goods” and has the potential to be THE talent of this era. Maybe his caution to keep things “in-house” is out the window when it comes to someone with the ability to beat anyone and everyone in the division. Probably not, though.

This particular preemptive strike, deflecting from his inability to wrangle good, worthwhile fights for his guys (Crawford specifically, but also Lomachenko and, down the road, maybe Fury), speaks to Arum’s critical failure in grasping at an ESPN deal, but, in the mad dash to hustle the boxing nubes at the “Worldwide Leader,” forgetting to secure bankable opposition for his guys. It’s a critical error from a boxing mind that’s clearly slipping and the result is a greatest hits barrage of Arum’s best psy-war deflections and sleights of hand.

But, nope, it’s nobody’s fault but Arum’s that Crawford has nobody to fight or that Crawford, who just may be the best fighter in the world, has just about zero leverage in negotiating with an Errol Spence who does have many other bankable opponent options. Arum’s only plan of attack right now is that of the full-on hissy fit and a crossing-of-the-fingers hope that the boxing media and boxing fandom is as dumb as he thinks they are.

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  1. Puddin tang 09:02pm, 04/29/2019

    Arum used and racial gas lighting. He actually simultaneously lied on Haymon while telling the truth about himself. That takes talent!

  2. Kid Blast 05:00am, 04/25/2019

    Thank you

  3. Jook City 06:57am, 04/24/2019

    I bet Darrell NEVER served. I bet Darrell thinks that Americans should fight in these insane Middle Eastern wars that don’t benefit America at all. How many soldiers, airmen, and sailors are committing suicide each day after coming back from this ongoing war???? Tell us all about your service career, Darrell. My cousin came back from Vietnam and was never the same and FOR WHAT? You might want to read George Washington’s farewell address and learn something about America becoming involved in foreign affairs as well.

  4. Jook City 06:44am, 04/24/2019

    Darrell…. I SERVED from 1983-1987. Of course there was no war going on at the time. Lets see now, seeing as how MY PEOPLE were POOR, FROM THE SOUTH, AND WHITE, I had several uncles, my father, and cousins DRAFTED to fight in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Funny, how MOST of the soldiers, airmen, and sailors were always poor, White and from the South or Midwest, huh? While Eastern and Western elites went off to “collage” or burned their draft cards, or went into the RESERVES like Bush Jr. Btw, your NO COMBAT flunkie Eisenhower and drunkard Winston Churchill were war criminals as well. Roasting German civilians in air raids and the Rhine Meadow Death Camps are a disgrace to America. Americans should be above such behavior. General Patton, A REAL SOLDIER, was probably going to tell all, but we are told he was met with an unfortunate accident. Learn something, poopbutt, both World Wars didn’t benefit America at all, neither did the Korean or Vietnam. WWI and WWII are the reason Europe is in the shape it is right now and it took the best of MY PEOPLE. May Europe NEVER engage in a fratricidal war again.

  5. Darrell 10:39pm, 04/23/2019

    What is that draft dodging pussy piece of shit lawyer Arum doing in a Marine general’s uniform.  The writer of this article dishonors the uniform. Schmuck.
    As for the little prick calling himself jook City, can’t you tell the difference between a Marine uniform and army. And btw, bubblehead, Eisenhower was not in combat through no fault of his own. He was a great man and a great general. What have you done for the country asshole.

  6. Val Heyman 05:12pm, 04/23/2019

    Keep deleting anything critical of yourself or Haymon you thin skinned PBC shilling loser.

  7. Val Heyman 05:09pm, 04/23/2019

    Arum’s trying to lynch a black man. Now please ignore my racially charged statement and history of using anti-Semitic tropes while I get on my high horse and accuse Arum of race baiting.

  8. Koolz 10:32am, 04/23/2019

    For those who wish to know something
    About history.
    Www tomatobubble com

  9. Jook City 04:08pm, 04/22/2019

    Oops. That is Admiral John Hall JR and not Sr.  Close enuff.

  10. Jook City 03:21pm, 04/22/2019

    Hmm, probably know a helluva lot more about history than your lame “Your Name” arse, that is why I will take the opinions of men like General Patton and Admiral John Hall Sr., AMONG OTHERS, when it comes to Eisenhower. Eisenhower saw about as much combat duty as George Bush Jr., and Dick Cheney. Fools like you will glorify anyone you are commanded to idolize. Nuff said. smh and lolololol

  11. Your Name 11:04am, 04/22/2019

    jook alias racist Eric. What do you even know about Ike?

  12. snowflake 09:31am, 04/22/2019

    TR’s young run at ESPN has been disgraceful so far and the fiasco this weekend topped by Arum’s looney rant was the cherry on top. I laughed out loud when I saw- its what they all deserve But honestly Magno, you run this piece with slightly different wording every month or so, and your selective focus comes across as though you’re running PR for Haymon. It’s weird

  13. Jook City 08:26am, 04/22/2019

    Is that a photo of Arum’s face superimposed on the body of pencil pushing Eisenhower? Arum and Ike were made for each other. haha. Good choice.