Top Rank is on the hunt for additional talent to fill it’s ESPN telecasts, which has recently been expanded to include the network’s upcoming streaming service ESPN+. And being that powerful boxing manager/advisor Al Haymon has a lot of the best young talent aligned with him, that’s logically where Bob Arum would look to fill the void.
Haymon largely showcases his fighters on his Premier Boxing Champions series, using different promoters and networks for different events. He also partners with Showtime Sports pretty regularly for some of his bigger cards.
Top Rank filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Haymon just a couple of years ago for acting as both a manager and promoter, a practice in violation of the Ali Act. But both sides eventually settled the lawsuit out of court rather than continuing to air-out each other’s dirty laundry in a very public manner.
So here’s what Arum now has to say to RingTV about trying to enter negotiations with fighters in Haymon’s stable:
“We would never talk to a fighter who’s under a promotional contract, but Haymon’s fighters, he’s an advisor, he’s not even a manager, and we’re allowed to talk to the fighters,” Arum told THE RING. “Now, he can go to them and say ‘don’t go with Top Rank because I’m going to offer you a better deal.’ That he can do.
“But he can’t say ‘don’t go with Top Rank because I don’t want you to go with Top Rank.’ He’s not allowed to say that. He doesn’t have any legal right anymore to prevent them from being with any promoter.
“That’s why we have no hesitation talking with them. Now, if he says ‘hey, don’t go with Top Rank because I’ll put you on PBC and you’ll make more money’ and so forth, that’s business. That’s OK.”
Arum wouldn’t offer the names of fighters he’s trying to negotiate with, but he does say that some of the discussions have been going pretty well thus far. And with his new expanded platform on ESPN to along with his decades of experience as a upper-echelon promoter, he’s obviously hopeful to land a big name.