By Ryan Maquiñana
U.S. Olympians Errol Spence and Dominic Breazeale spoke to BoxingScene.com about their recent move to turn pro and sign with adviser Al Haymon.
“I signed with Al two days ago,” Spence said. “We asked a lot of people for advice as in what they knew about Al, and no one had anything bad to say about him.”
Breazeale echoed his teammate’s sentiment, as he mulled over his options with the help of Mike Rodriguez before pulling the trigger.
“Al seemed like a genuine guy,” he said. “He knew a lot about me and my background. I just felt comfortable with him.
“I started talking to him about two to three weeks before the Olympic Games. Then about a week after the Games, we had lunch and got the deal done.”
Spence, a skilled southpaw from DeSoto, Tex., is an excellent body puncher, having won the USA Boxing National Championships at 152 pounds three straight times. In the Olympics, he advanced as far as the welterweight quarterfinals after a controversial loss against India’s Krishan Vikas was overturned in the round of 16.
“We’re going to get to work real soon,” Spence added. “Adrien Broner’s trainer Mike Stafford wants us up there in Cincinnati to help him out with camp and get ready for our own debuts, somewhere around late October, early November.”
As for Breazeale, the former college quarterback turned pro heavyweight has been training with John Bray and sparring at Pullman’s Gym in Burbank, Calif., with fellow Haymon client Gerald Washington, who is preparing for his own fight on Sept. 29.
“I think that’s why we both signed with him,” Breazeale said. “It’s one thing to fight on a show with a big promoter, but being with Al and being able to advertise myself on TV with his connections, you couldn’t ask for more,” Breazeale said.
The imposing 6-foot-7, 250-pound Breazeale, who dropped his Olympic opener after reaching the super heavyweight final of the Continental Championships to qualify for London 2012, informed BoxingScene.com that his debut would likely occur on Oct. 27.
“I figured my shot at the NFL was slim to none,” Breazeale said. “When I first started boxing, it was to stay in shape, and then I figured out I was pretty good at it. I never thought I had the ability to become an Olympian, much less in boxing.
“Now I have bigger goals, like bringing that heavyweight title back to America. It’s been over there in Europe for far too long.”
In addition to Breazeale and Spence, fellow American amateur stars Rau’Shee Warren and Terrell Gausha also signed pacts with Haymon. Nonetheless, while Spence will enjoy his Olympic teammates’ presence in the stable, but it did not ultimately factor into his decision.
“It’s great that we’re all signing with Al, but boxing is an individual sport,” Spence said. “I thought this was the best business move I could make.
“But I’m not changing what I’ve been doing. I’m still keeping the same team and my same trainer, Derrick James, and I’m still going to train at Maple [Avenue Boxing Gym in Dallas]. I’m just excited to start my pro career.”
Haymon’s list of clientele includes Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Josesito Lopez, Peter Quillin, Austin Trout, Gary Russell Jr., Erislandy Lara, Chris Arreola, Seth Mitchell, and several others.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com and currently writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.