By Keith Idec
OMAHA, Nebraska – Bob Arum is confident that, if given the opportunity to meet again with Al Haymon, they can come to an agreement to make a Terence Crawford-Errol Spence Jr. fight a reality.
They did, after all, put together a much more complicated pay-per-view showdown when they finally made Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao early in 2015.
Crawford’s promoter made it clear, though, that it won’t be easy to provide fans with the welterweight title unification fight they most want unless Haymon, who advises Spence, at least is interested in negotiating with him.
With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, the 86-year-old Arum questioned whether the notoriously private Haymon even exists.
“The problem is who is PBC?,” Arum told BoxingScene.com, referring to the Premier Boxing Champions organization Haymon launched early in 2015.
“And people say, ‘Al Haymon.’ And I say Al Haymon is a fiction Sam Watson has created. I don’t believe there’s an Al Haymon. I haven’t seen him in three years. Have you seen him? Is there an Al Haymon? No! I think Sam Watson has created some guy named Al Haymon, who is responsible for all of these bad decisions because there is no Al Haymon. You’re blaming it on a fictional character.”
Watson, a longtime Haymon employee, has been commonly mistaken for Haymon by some fans and media when Watson stands alongside Haymon’s boxers in the ring before and after their fights. When reminded that there’s evidence Haymon does indeed exist, Arum continued.
“You may have interviewed who you thought was Al Haymon,” Arum explained. “But how do you know it’s Al Haymon? [Promoter Lou] DiBella says, ‘Well, I talk to him on the phone.’ I say, ‘Lou, how do you know [it’s him]? People today can mimic any voice.’ How do I know it’s him? I haven’t spoken to him in over two years. How do I know it’s him? The last time I saw him was maybe four years ago, and I’m in the business full-time.”
Whenever they eventually begin negotiating a bout between Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), the WBO welterweight champion, and Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), the IBF 147-pound champ, Arum doesn’t think it’ll be as difficult as some suspect to finalize a deal. As a pay-per-view event, Arum doesn’t feel the fighters’ network affiliations should complicate matters as much as if Crawford-Spence were to air either on ESPN (Crawford) or Showtime (Spence).
“It’s a pay-per-view event when they fight,” Arum said, “and the same way that we did it with Mayweather and Pacquiao, both HBO and Showtime were co-distributors of the fight and shared the distribution fee. All of that can be worked out. I mean, it’s silly. But again, you can always say that because of this and because of that something can’t happen.
“But if you have any kinds of brains or ingenuity, you can work through those problems to make it happen. Obviously, it would be wrong for Errol Spence to say, ‘Screw you, Showtime. I’m gonna fight Terence Crawford on a pay-per-view distributed by ESPN.’ I recognize that. And just as soon it would be wrong for Terence to say, ‘To hell with that. Thanks, ESPN, but I’m gone.’ No, but you can work it out like gentlemen.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.