This is not Al Haymon. The man that most believe to be Al Haymon is actually Sam Watson. Watson is a close friend and employee of Al Haymon (more on him later).
Who is the mystery man that most victorious fighters thank in post-fight interviews in the same breath as god (or shortly thereafter)? Is Haymon a nefarious malcontent that controls boxing from the shadows?
Is Haymon a fighters advocate here to save the sport? Where did Haymon come from anyway? Keep reading I’ll shed some light on Al Haymon and his place in the sport.
Who is Al Haymon?
Al Haymon was born in Cleveland Ohio in 1956. Haymon possesses Bachelors and Masters degrees in Economics from Harvard University. Before his involvement in boxing, Haymon was a major player in the music industry (via his company A.H. Enterprises) as a concert/tour promoter for several large acts in the 80’s and 90’s, Haymon promoted tours for the likes of M.C.
Hammer and Whitney Houston. Haymon was one of the biggest tour promotors in his day and promoted mega tours like the Budweiser Superfest an annual tour Haymon created that had a 20 year run from the late 70s to the late 90s. Haymon would branch out from music to co-promote Eddie Murphy’s Raw tour and later produce several television shows.
Entering The World of Boxing
Al Haymon got his start in boxing as an advisor to the late Vernon Forrest before his first fight with Shane Mosley (though he was associated with the sport previously as his brother Bobby Haymon fought Sugar Ray Leonard in April of 1978) as the story goes Forrest sought representation to assist with the business aspect of boxing and sought Haymon to do what his team couldn’t.
During his relationship with Forrest, Haymon began to build a positive reputation among boxers as he was helping to increase his fighters exposure and earnings.
Haymon has built a stable of over 100 fighters, there are too many to list here, but he works with Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto, Adrian Bronner, Deontay Wilder and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. just to name a few.
Why Do So Many People Dislike Al Haymon?
The answer to that question varies greatly based on who you ask, his competition does not like him because he dominates the sport, Haymon is in fact so dominant of a force that in 2015 promotional powerhouse Golden Boy Promotions brought a $300 million federal lawsuit against Al Haymon stating that he is violating anti-trust laws by creating a boxing monopoly.
Some networks aren’t fond of Haymon because he turns the tables on them during negotiations, he has so many fighters that he doesn’t have to go to the networks hat in hand when its time for negotiations and they often have to bend to his will.
Others cite that Haymon and the way he conducts his business are unethical and violate federal law. Though Haymon is licensed in Nevada as a manager people cite his work as a promoter and advisor to fighters as a conflict of interest and a violation of the Muhammad Ali Act (passed by the federal government in 2000 to protect the welfare of boxers)
Why fans and fighters love Al Haymon
Al Haymon changed the sport of boxing when he created Premier Boxing Champions a brand that works across several networks to bring boxing to the masses, on free tv and basic cable.
Fighters love Haymon because PBC did wonders for the sport as it increased the visibility and profile of boxing providing opportunities for fighters to showcase their talents and earn larger than average sums of money for their fights. Haymon is the architect behind Floyd Mayweather's’ business dealings and a large part of his financial success.
Fans loved the fact that they got to see fights for free and loved the increased frequency with which boxing was televised. Haymon is also a fan favourite as he s behind most of the major fights and Pay Per View events the past few years.
Final Verdict on Al Haymon
Haymon could be seen as great for the sport as he challenges established norms and seems to genuinely care about and deal fairly with fighters in ways that are uncommon for the sport of boxing. Too often we’ve seen noble gladiators, titlists, champions and legends alike left penniless and in poor health and forgot by most “fans’ as promoters, hangers-on and shady business people make off with their hard earned money.
It's about time someone looked out for the fighters. Haymon is said to advise fighters on more than just matchups and does things to improve their lives as men, offering financial advice, and support to some like Paul Williams who was left paralysed in a motorcycle accident. Williams states that Haymon reached out to him to see if he needs anything and to provide financial help as needed.
What About Sam Watson?
The person most people think is Al Haymon is actually Haymons’ longtime friend and business partner Sam Watson. Sam and his sons Brandon and Marcus (no they aren’t twins) are at every major fight (and a lot of minor ones) they work for Haymon, they scout fighters, manage fighter relationships and scout new talent for Haymon.
In addition, Haymon conducts a lot of his business through Watson. Perhaps the most important role that Watson serves is disability, when you see him or his sons behind a fighter you know that fighter is with Al Haymon.
Watson was a record executive for many years with Motown Records he managed promotions for the label and met and befriended Haymon in the 80’s when Haymon was promoting concerts, they entered the sport of boxing together.
Header Image: Showtime Boxing