Bob Arum has called Al Haymon a cancer to the sport of boxing in the past, and even said he encourages PBC fighters like Errol Spence Jr. not to work with white promoters.
That was then, and with the Feb. 22 rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury being the “now,” Arum has changed his position about the longtime rival Haymon.
“I can predict that with no uncertainty that Wilder-Fury 2 will be one of a number of fights Top Rank and PBC will be doing together, some on ESPN, some on FOX and others on PPV. I think that is absolutely the case,” Arum told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “Everything changes in boxing. Everything changes life. There is now peace among promoters.
“We have no problem working with PBC. You’re dealing with professionals, but the press paints a different picture. When PBC had all of the money from hedge funds, their policy was not to deal with anybody. That’s long since passed.”
Arum even went as far as saying he can negotiate a fight with Terence Crawford and Spence Jr. in less than an hour once Spence Jr. is ready to resume his career thanks to his rekindled relationship with Haymon.
“I have no problem working with PBC and I don’t think they have a problem working with us,” said Arum. “People talk, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s easy for others to say we don’t deal with each other. But that’s not the case. I speak to Al everyday now because of the promotion for Wilder and Fury … Al Haymon has a modus operandi to be in the shadows, and not talking to the press. That’s something he wants to do, and we can’t change that. If anything, I speak to much to press.”
Arum emphasized that it’s easy to say competing promoters don’t work with each other, but it’s simply not true.
“We deal with everybody, whether it’s Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, or Oscar De La Hoya at Golden Boy,” said Arum.
Arum pointed to Top Rank’s recent fights arranged with Golden Boy, which included his fighter Shakur Stevenson besting Joet Gonzalez for the WBO featherweight title, and Jamel Herring beating Lamont Roach for the WBO junior lightweight crown. His other Top Rank fighter, Carlos Adames, lost to Golden Boy’s Patrick Teixeira for the WBO super welterweight title last month.
On the Matchroom side of the table, recent bouts include Vasyl Lomachenko heading overseas to face Luke Campbell at the 02 Arena, and Lomachenko facing the Matchroom-promoted Anthony Crolla previous to that at Staples Center in April. Also, the Top Rank-promoted Jose Ramirez unified the super lightweight division against Maurice Hooker on DAZN during a Matchroom promoted event.
“For the right arrangement, [rival promoters] all willing to deal with one another,” said Arum. “That’s the good news. You can’t keep kicking the dog when the dog is not responsible for anything, when actually, the dog is quite willing to cooperate with everybody. I don’t only speak for myself, but for all other promoters.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].