Rumours that Al Haymon was thinking of getting out of the boxing business last year have circulated following a recent report – but a left field collaboration with the UFC and Dana White could save him (a bit). So to speak.
It’s no secret that Al Haymon raised hundreds of millions of dollars for his US-based boxing start-up company Premier Boxing Champions back in 2015.
As a much, much smaller scale guy myself, who rolled the dice with my own life and everything else a couple of years ago (two months after the PBC folks did in May 2015) when I decided to start our platform here at Boxing News and Views for fight fans around the world (you guys) – I’ve always been curious about the PBC from day one.
Having spoken to their organisation a number of times, I have genuinely always found them to be polite, helpful, professional and wanting to do their part for boxing.
That’s first hand and if I didn’t like someone, as most of you know by this stage, I’d have no problem saying it to that person one to one. That’s just who I am.
Since reading of the Haymon-PBC venture I’ve always found it remarkable that someone could go out there and raise that kind of venture capital based on such an early burn rate of cash.
I know how these venture capitalist guys operate.
I’m intimately familiar with the process, as I am with government agencies and financial lending institutions, whom I’ve all dealt with (all, to a man, successfully – I will humbly add) over the past few years. It’s taken more out of me at times than perhaps I care to admit.
Again on a way, way more small time and safety first level than an old experienced guy like Haymon in the US has – compared to this 29-year-old Irishman.
But the fundamentals are the same in any business. Everything has to generate revenue, a wage or a salary for someone doing any job – in any profession – bottom line.
It’s hard to see how the initial PBC game plan was sustainable long-term in terms of revenues generated, in truth.
Unless he was going out raising even more money as part of a second series of investment, which I sincerely doubt, or the networks are now paying big rights fees all of a sudden for PBC shows in 2018.
Again, it was no secret that Haymon burned through a lot of investor cash as part of the initial time-buy plan to get boxing back onto free television. That was part of the strategy, surely. But a risky one.
One that at the same time, whatever way you look at it, got boxing initially back onto free TV and made a positive contribution to where the sport is now a couple of years on.
Basically at a popularity point that it hasn’t seen in over a decade or so, to be fair.
Yes, boxing is in a bit of a boom time world-wide at the moment – but lets not get carried away or complacent. Boxing can, and will, get back to its glory days by around 2020. In my humble opinion.
It’s an international sport at its core nowadays. Nobody owns boxing. Boxing is big in countries all over the world.
It’s very different from how the UFC brand owned essentially the sport of MMA before (although Bellator are showing signs now of being a viable competitor).
It would not be unreasonable to assume Haymon is now realising this and looking to team up with Dana White of the UFC.
A man who knows how to build brands and could offer help to Haymon’s PBC potentially in exchange for some of his fighters in White’s expected venture into the sweet science as a promoter later this year.
Lets put it this way, when Dana White was asked this week by renowned journalist Kevin Iole of Yahoo, would he be willing to start his new boxing promotional company with or in conjunction with Haymon’s PBC and in Iole’s exact words, “bail him out so to speak” – White did not say no:
“Well I have a good relationship with Haymon, I actually like him very much. Yeah, I think there are a lot of possibilities – not just with Haymon but with a lot of people.”
Don’t be surprised if you see the UFC and PBC doing something over the coming weeks and months ahead.
The fun in boxing is only getting started in 2018.