Haymon’s bootprints were all over HBO’s admission Monday that it no longer is dealing with Golden Boy Promotions, which too often forced HBO to deal with Haymon, albeit indirectly. HBO said it will henceforth limit its dealings to “those strategic relationships where we better share common goals and business philosophies,” as HBO sports president Ken Hershman put it in a statement.
Translation: HBO is very angry about the defection of Mayweather to Showtime last month but is much more outraged by how it went down under Haymon’s autocratic rule, which Golden Boy head Richard Schaefer began to mimic in other dealings with HBO.
HBO sees itself as the New York Times of cable television, preferring a certain amount of class in the ongoing equation -- not the brass knuckles kind that seems to be emanating from the whole Haymon-Mayweather-Golden Boy-Showtime consortium.
In fact, HBO was kept in the dark during the two-month negotiations for Mayweather’s May 4 pay-per-view bout with Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero, just like the rest of us.
Thus, this observation Monday from Schaefer -- “The president of HBO Sports did not have any conversations with me since last November or December about anything.”-- came off like a poke in the eye with a stick at HBO.
Like an abused elder, HBO had come to accept waiting patiently for Haymon -- whose claims to fame include a fortune made in the rock and pop concert world -- to draw up every detail of Mayweather’s matches and then have Golden Boy tell HBO to “sign here.”
It was bad enough that Haymon was dictating all the terms to haughty HBO. It became far worse when he rubbed noses in the dirt and still moved his client to Showtime.
The HBO-Golden Boy split began to seem inevitable in late 2011 when former Golden Boy attorney Stephen Espinoza brought his show-biz lawyer background to Showtime as its new sports president. Here’s what I wrote at the time.
HBO, having dealt with Golden Boy since before its inception, considering founder Oscar De La Hoya fought on HBO for most of his career, and the relationship had become dominant in boxing by the end of the George W. Bush administration.
Espinoza’s predecessor at Showtime, Ken Hershberg, had taken a similar post at HBO in 2011 and thus strengthened its ties with Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum.
Now the battle lines are fully set. Unfortunately, that means Nonito Donaire is less likely now to fight Abner Mares, and Andre Ward is less likely to fight Bernard Hopkins.
Much speculation about further warfare centers upon Adrien Broner, the lightweight who seems to be the next generation’s Mayweather and has been trumpeting his ties with HBO. Haymon controls Broner, and Broner’s contracts with HBO and with Haymon-Golden Boy apparently are up for renewal. soon
Will he choose HBO or Haymon?
If you think Haymon’s going to lose Broner, you need to pay better attention.