Bob Arum: Top Rank held talks with Al Haymon fighters about signing deals
Top Rank is armed with ample dates and premium exposure for their stable of boxers, so it’s no surprise that they’re trying to strengthen their roster.
Al Haymon advises a large stable of fighters — at least 100 — and many of them are among the sport’s elite practitioners. Boxers like heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder, the Charlo twins, Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia all are handled by Haymon.
Bob Arum and Top Rank filed a federal antitrust lawsuit in 2016 accusing Haymon of acting as both promoter and manager, but that case was eventually settled. Golden Boy Promotions’ similar lawsuit was dismissed, and that means Haymon is still classified as exactly what he’s advertised: an advisor.
All of Haymon’s top boxers competing under the Premier Boxing Champions banner are promotional free agents, and with that, Arum is on the hunt to sign some of those athletes. The 86-year-old hall of famer told THE RING that his company has held talks with some Haymon-advised fighters about joining Top Rank on a promotional deal.
“We would never talk to a fighter who’s under a promotional contract, but Haymon’s fighters, he’s an advisor, he’s not even a manager, and we’re allowed to talk to the fighters,” Arum told THE RING. “Now, he can go to them and say ‘don’t go with Top Rank because I’m going to offer you a better deal.’ That he can do.
“But he can’t say ‘don’t go with Top Rank because I don’t want you to go with Top Rank.’ He’s not allowed to say that. He doesn’t have any legal right anymore to prevent them from being with any promoter.
“That’s why we have no hesitation talking with them. Now, if he says ‘hey, don’t go with Top Rank because I’ll put you on PBC and you’ll make more money’ and so forth, that’s business. That’s OK.”
Arum declined to reveal exactly which fighters Top Rank has had discussions with, but he acknowledged that some of those talks have been promising. With ESPN’s backing and a history of developing prospects into attractions — as well as champions — the Las Vegas-based promotional company is an attractive option for fighters.
While Haymon is able to consistently land his clients lucrative contracts and Showtime television dates, he’s an adviser, and as such, his boxers are marketed by various promoters on a fight-by-fight basis.
Arum, with over 50 years of success in the sport, can certainly promise them something more. And if he can land a fighter the ilk of Wilder, Spence or Thurman, Top Rank’s deal with ESPN will be enhanced, too.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger