Last week in a rather
memorable Twitter exchange between rapper-turned-boxing promoter 50 Cent and Oscar
De la Hoya, the figurehead of Golden Boy Promotions, 50, probably more noted
now for being the close friend of Floyd Mayweather than anything he's recorded
recently, made it very clear that his newly formed company, TMT (“The Money
Team”), will be a major player in the industry. And he made his intentions
crystal clear just who would be his company's bell-cow as he emasculated De la
Hoya 140 characters at a time (maxboxing/50-to-promote-money).
I mean, really, did you
think Mr. Curtis Jackson got into this to promote the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa
(who split the $1.4 million cost with Floyd to extricate himself from Top
Rank), Andre Dirrell and now Billy Dib? The real money for a guy like him is in
the pay-per-view business and in Mayweather, he has one the biggest franchises
in the sport with a built-in audience.
But questions have to be
asked: is “Fiddy” in the boxing business or just the Mayweather business (and
trust me; there's a huge difference)? Will this be a long-standing commitment
to the sport or another venture for him like Vitamin Water? Just how much of an
impact will TMT have over the long haul?
And what many want to know
is what this means for Al Haymon. A major part of his influence over the sport
is based on having “Mayweather Muscles” he can flex over both major premium
cable networks and Golden Boy Promotions. There are a lot of fighters who need
Haymon in their corner in order to land dates on HBO and Showtime (and get paid
very handsomely for it) - Mayweather isn't one of them. Mayweather has a
tangible market value which isn't just rooted in what a television executive
believes should be a license fee for his fights but the multi-millions of
dollars he generates with pay-per-view purchases. There are some who believe Haymon
will always be part of Mayweather's brain-trust. Others say that he and 50 don't
really get along and will not be part of this new union (it says here, never,
ever count out Mr. Haymon, who can seemingly do Jedi mind tricks to such a
degree that it would leave Obi-Wan Kenobi envious).
This much is clear; this new
company- with or without the ever-influential Haymon- can open doors at places
like HBO. Dirrell, who was with Haymon for much of his career before leaving
him earlier this year, told Lem Satterfield of RingTV (http://ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/174079-dirrell-on-mayweather-50-cent-)
that he's already had direct meetings with executives of HBO before even
officially putting his name on the dotted line with TMT:
Andre Dirrell: Well, we were able to
sit down with HBO,
you know? And that's another thing. Until now, I have never had a chance to
ever sit down with a television executive, whether it was ESPN or Showtime.
I never had that experience for any of my
fights. But that's the first thing that we did, is that we sat down with [Vice
President of Programming and Sports] Kery Davis of HBO.
Who was there at the meeting?
AD: We met with HBO in the Mandalay Hotel, and it was me,
50 Cent and Gamboa and Kery Davis. We all sat down with HBO, and I knew, right
then and there, that that's something that a lot of fighters don't get to do.
They don't get to sit down and have the
negotiation with the network, but that's something that they let me in on, and
they let me have input into my fight, so I was really, really impressed with
So yeah, anyone who thinks
this group won’t have influence on the business is sadly mistaken. Alienating
De la Hoya or his company will have no bearing on that. Having big “Money” on
your side makes you a major player in this racket. And while some might be want
to dismiss 50, the reality is his history- and portfolio- shows that he has a
keen business sense. And again, he's not necessarily building a business; he's
taken over the controls of one. He's not taking over a new garage band but the
Rolling Stones here.
However, there are a few
questions that remain. First is in regard to infrastructure. Just who will run
this company on a day-to-day basis? This isn't like selling your mixtapes out
of the trunk of your Escalade here. And while Mayweather has always claimed to
promote himself since he faced De la Hoya in 2007, all his fights have been
promoted exclusively by Golden Boy Promotions (who takes a set fee for its
services). “Mayweather Promotions”- which never officially applied for a
promoter’s license anywhere- is nothing more than a name on the banner and a
few t-shirts. It's Floyd's boxing version of “Filthy Rich Records.” Will TMT
use another promoter to do the nuts-and-bolts work that goes into staging a
major pay-per-view event? And there is this question posed by a veteran of the
boxing industry via email:
they put on their own shows, do they have a matchmaker,
site coordinator, publicist, accountant, travel coordinator, any infrastructure at all?
All valid queries. While
promoting boxing at the highest levels seems glamorous, the reality is that
running a major promotional firm is a daily operation, where a regular set of
responsibilities have to be adhered to. Say what you want about Bob Arum and
Don King; they have survived this business for a reason and have been in it for
the long haul. It's not as easy as some think it is. Ask the likes of Josephine
Abercrombie and America Presents, to name a few of the bleached bones making up
the desert of failed promoters who believed they were going to clean up (while
cleaning up financially) the business in boxing.
However, there's a reason
why TMT has gone out on an early shopping spree because it's evident by the
aforementioned interview with Dirrell that they can secure network dates.
History has shown that those who have pay-per-view titans get certain accommodations
they otherwise wouldn't receive. In the ‘90s, Don King took Mike Tyson from HBO
over to Showtime, basically giving him exclusivity to that network for a full
decade (which led to too many Fabrice Tiozzo fights for my liking). Golden Boy
was able to leverage an exclusive output deal with HBO several years ago when its
namesake was still fighting and doing robust pay-per-view figures.
So yeah, expect a Dirrell
and Dib doubleheader very soon on “Boxing After Dark.”
One of the great concerns
existing is that if “TMT” is indeed around for the long haul and can procure a
vast stable of fighters and secure network slots for them, will they be allowed
to exist in a vacuum by themselves, much in the same way Golden Boy and Top
Rank currently are? It's bad enough that we basically have two separate leagues
of boxing between those two; could this new faction be allowed to operate in
much the same way with Mayweather’s clout? It's bad enough that some of the
best fights in boxing can't even be discussed because of the differences of two
companies. It will only be compounded if another company (which is signing a
significant amount of talent and will probably continue to do so) stages fights
with boxers whose sole qualification is that they are not aligned with Bob Arum
or Richard Schaefer.
Mayweather gets released
from his time at…uh…“summer camp” later this week, so some of these questions
will be answered. As of now, it's not even clear if he will fight the rest of 2012
but this much is clear: whenever he does, it will be under the “TMT” banner.
Whatever that is made up of.
And whatever that even is.
And they'll get rich- or die
Sometimes there is justice
in the boxing world (rarely, but it happens). The hard-luck Ray Beltran, who
was on the short end of the stick against Sharif Bogere and Luis Ramos in the
past year, finally got a close decision go his way versus Hank Lundy on this
past edition of “Friday Night Fights” in Atlantic City.
It was a close fight that
could've gone either way (honestly, I had it a draw) but you figure that with “Hammerin’
Hank” being the house fighter and all the talk of him being matched with Adrien
Broner in October that he'd certainly get the benefit of the doubt after 10
tight rounds were completed. But lo and behold, it was Beltran getting the majority
nod by the scores of 95-95 and 96-94 (twice).
Beltran is a blue-collar
fighter, one with no frills and an honest work ethic. Even after those bitterly
disappointing losses of the past year, you'd see him back at the gym, plying
his trade just a week or two after those fights. A man looking to pave a better
way for him and his family in the toughest of businesses, trying to be a bit
more than just a noted sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao.
The guy finally caught a
And while perhaps it's not a
huge story to many fans, this victory means everything to him.
Showtime had a pretty good show
this past weekend capped off by Robert Guerrero capturing the vacant version of
the WBC interim welterweight title by outpointing Selcuk Aydin with scores of
116-112 (twice) and 117-111 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. “The Ghost” was simply
too active and busy for the Turk who despite coming on at times, could never
really put on a sustained two-fisted attack. But to be honest, while Guerrero
won, he certainly didn't leave the impression that he was really a guy in the
mix to face Mayweather in the near future.
But I'm sure the press
releases calling for that match-up will be hitting our inboxes by Tuesday.
In the opener, Shawn Porter
and Alfonso Gomez put on a pretty good scrap with Porter coming out on top. Porter,
who simply had too much speed and quickness for Gomez, was a tad sharper. He
also showed a pretty good chin as he was drilled a few times by Gomez with
several right hands and left hooks with no discernible effect.
Hey, anyone remember when
Damon Dash was supposed to be a player in boxing and was going to bring in the
urban audience (starting with a collaboration with Lou DiBella)? Whatever
happened to that?...Orlando Salido won via third round KO in Mexico over Moises
Gutierrez...Hearing that Jorge Arce isn't such a sure thing to face Nonito
Donaire next (given he makes a lot of money in Mexico for relatively low-risk
fights) and maybe Toshiaki Nishioka will end up facing the “Filipino Flash” on
October 20th. Frankly, it's a better fight...I hope David Rodela
calls it a day after his most recent loss to Ronny Rios. He's a nice guy who
gave everything he had in the ring...I'll say it right now; Andrew Luck will
have a strong rookie campaign in Indy...NFL Network's “Training Camp Live” is
simply fantastic for any football fan...