Haymon Out Played By Crafty Hopkins? Member of Team Haymon Chimes In

Mario Mungia
By Mario Mungia August 11, 2014 2:03 pm

untitledI doubt I’m the first boxing fan to think this, but I can’t wait for November to get here, specifically whichever day in November ends up hosting the light heavyweight unification bout between Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins – which currently has a working date of November 8th.  Of course I want to see it, but I also feel like it’s too good to be true and would like it to happen before something (or someone) prevents it from happening.

The fight being made is a miracle in a lot of ways. One of boxing’s most prolific writers, Tim Starks (Queensberry Rules), recently wrote about how easy it would’ve been for this fight to have never materialized and broke down the 30 year evolution of matchmaking and the factors that account for its problematic devolve over that time span, giving notation to some of boxing’s most epic matchmaking fails.

Starks’ inspiration for this subject was the fact that Hopkins-Kovalev was actually made, instead of adding to the list of shelved fights that fans most want to see.

Another great writer, Rick Reeno, put out a powerful read the night of Kovalev-Caparello — the fight Kovalev had to win before his unification bout with Hopkins could become a reality — and it was eye opening as well.

Reeno’s story revolved around his exclusive interview with a very candid Hopkins and his decision to take Kovalev. It would be much easier if you read it, but the aspect that I’d like to highlight is Hopkins’ not so unapparent feelings toward Al Haymon and his possible role in the Hopkins-Stevenson debacle.

The revelations made by Hopkins could be deemed obvious, but that’s the problem with Al Haymon because we all assume to know or comprehend his calculating nature, and yet few have ever tabbed him with specifics.

After reading Reeno’s piece I’m convinced that Haymon attempted to stall negations for the proposed Hopkins-Stevenson fight in order to force Hopkins into a stalemate that would see him forfeit the title, giving another Haymon fighter, Thomas Williams Jr., a chance to fight for a title. And even if Hopkins fought his mandatory then Williams would’ve been next in line and that would’ve created a Haymon trifecta. That means we would’ve ended up with three different Haymon fighters all vying for more than one piece of the light heavyweight title picture, but that dream ended with Hopkins decision to fight Kovalev.

I think based on all the evidence uncovered by Reeno and the subtle nuances in Starks’ work we can assess that Haymon’s feelings of the Hopkins-Kovalev fight aren’t particularly enthusiastic, especially when you consider that Hopkins is going back to HBO and working with Main Events, the very promotional outfit that attempted to sue Al Haymon for the Kovalev-Stevenson debacle before dropping it in lieu of making the Hopkins deal.

You can say that Hopkins’ decision to take the Kovalev fight was more than a true champion taking on the very best and giving fans the fights we want to see, it was also an act of defiance against Al Haymon, which is rarely committed in this era of boxing.

But Hopkins has the power to do it and he’s a genuine star in boxing with a ton of influence in the sport. I mean, you couldn’t imagine many fighters in boxing making the same decision against Haymon’s authority.

So now Haymon finds himself in unfamiliar territory with things not going his way and not being able to secure the big fight for one of his primed fighters in Adonis Stevenson. Haymon was outplayed by the crafty Hopkins, and Haymon shouldn’t feel bad because Hopkins out crafts everyone, although I expect that is of no conciliation to Haymon.

So Haymon must ride it out with Bernard and pretend he was behind this decision the whole time.

Haymon’s right-hand man Sam Watson affirmed this notion last week in an interview with Thaboxingvoice.com.

“Hopkins is my man all the way till the end. I think Hopkins is going to out slick him for about 6 rounds, the other boy will keep coming strong. One thing about Hopkins, when the world thought he was all over when he fought Kelly Pavlik, he beat the hell out of Kelly Pavlik. Bernard knows how to do what he do,” Sam Watson said.

This is a smart move on Watson’s behalf, although he may not have had a choice in the matter. Stay close to Bernard and capitalize off of the potential win, this is the game plan, and should Hopkins lose, well at least Haymon still has Stevenson and can probably get away with making Hopkins-Stevenson with very little fuss from Showtime.

Watson made a comment in the interview that suggested Kovalev was always the fighter of choice for Hopkins and that he preferred that fight over the Stevenson fight.

“He can’t wait to fight this guy (Kovalev), he chose [Kovalev], [Kovalev] didn’t choose [Hopkins] because he could’ve fought Adonis Stevenson but he said ‘naw I don’t want him I want the other guy (Kovalev),’ so he got him now. It’s gonna be a great fight, I’ll be there with Bernard,” Watson insisted.

What a curious thing to say because after all it was Hopkins who from the beginning made it clear that the Stevenson fight was the one to be made. In the Reeno interview, Hopkins said that they (Golden Boy and Hopkins’ team) reached out to Stevenson’s camp several times and that phone calls were never returned and his interests weren’t apparent.

Yet, we’re supposed to believe that Hopkins turned down Stevenson in favor of Kovalev? It wasn’t just Stevenson either because supposedly Showtime had dramatically reduced their guarantee for Hopkins out of the blue.

It is clear that Watson is trying to push the allure that everything is the way it is supposed to be between Haymon and Bernard, but that is not true. Watson would have us believe that the decision to fight Kovalev was a unanimous one, supported by all parties within the Bernard camp. Watson wants us to believe that the Kovalev fight was a calculative maneuver, instead of the deviant turn of events it appears to be.

When asked if the Stevenson fight was the easier fight for Bernard, Sam Watson appeared unsure of how to even broach the question.

“They will meet up one day if Bernard gets passed this guy (Kovalev), Adonis is next on his list, he wants Adonis too,” Watson said.

I’m sure Bernard wants Stevenson, he tried to make the fight happen. The reluctance to make the fight was on the Stevenson side and that might be the answer to everything we want to know in regards to everything we can’t, at least in a nutshell.

Perhaps the reason we’re getting Garcia and Broner in meaningless fights is the same reason we aren’t seeing Stevenson in a meaningful fight. Haymon refuses to assist in making any meaningful fights if he can help it and to force his hand is probably blasphemy in his eyes. Hopkins-Stevenson would’ve been meaningful, but the fact that it isn’t happening and Hopkins-Kovalev is takes on a whole other meaning in and of itself.

Mario Mungia
By Mario Mungia August 11, 2014 2:03 pm

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4 Comments

  1. UrSuperhero August 12, 1:06 am

    TRT hopkins .. hes a cheat .. end of story..

  2. Mr. Blake August 15, 12:08 am

    Watson is a terrific boot-licker. He is on par w/ Leonard Ellerbe. Ha! Haymon moved in on a sport of mental midgets. It was ripe for what he’s doing. W Golden Boy drifting into oblivion w Eric n Oscar ‘at the helm’, and Arum withering w age, Shaeffer n Haymon will absolutely dominate and corrupt boxing. Boxing fans are good folks, just not sophisticated. Easy pickings. Watson n his sons coach the Haymon fighters after fight in ring interviews to mention Al Haymon’s name. Shameless (see ShowTime Swift Garcia interview) ha! Looked like a ventriliquist, but media ignores those shills–kinda sick dudes. Papa Watson did same thing w Danny Jacobs, telling him to say ‘ I’ll fight anyone, anytime. Jacobs forgot token room Uncle Al n so did Swift. They gonna get spanked for that!

  3. ThisIsTheTruth August 15, 1:52 am

    First thing first, Hopkins lied about the Thomas Williams IBF story, and also lied about the phone call he never received from Stevenson clan.
    The issue is, in July Bernard Hopkins suddently requested to be paid 5 millions (70%) for the unification against Adonis Stevenson.
    But the original deal was for (50%) 3.5 millions each contenders.
    Rejecting the idea of being paid 3.5 millions (50%), Hopkins decided to agree a reduced (70%) deal with Kovalev.
    That (70%) is 2 millions, which give Kovalev (30%) 650 000$…

    The Question is WHY would you reject a 3.5 millions deal against X, and agree for a 2 millions deal against Y.

    Quote:
    By Stephen Espinoza:
    “It did surprise me simply because he took less money to fight Kovalev. At this stage of his career, Bernard has been very clear that he wants to maximize revenues. That’s the way it surprised me. But from a boxing perspective it’s part of the business. he wanted to take on Kovalev and I don’t fault him for that. If he wants the Kovalev fight, then at this stage of his career he has a handful of fights left, if that, and if he wants to prioritize that fight I’m not going to hold it against him,” Espinoza told BoxingScene.com.

    I believe Hopkins saw more flaws in Kovalev’s game than in Stevenson, which he could exploited.
    But the main reason is the business/beneficial way to compile money.
    You see, Stevenson always wanted to fight both (Hopkins & Kovalev), but he wanted to follow an order to generate more money.
    Since Stevenson got under Showtime, his new plan was to have a megafight with Hopkins for 3.5 millions pulling the Undisputed Champion title, and closing the lite Heavyweight loop with the most anticipated boxing FANBASE fight between him and Kovalev for MUCH MORE.
    But Hopkins understood Stevenson path to racks more money, and decide to pick his plan, by pursuing Kovalev before closing the circle with Stevenson.
    Which mean he got a deal with Stevenson, but swap network, fix a 2 millions deal with Kovalev, believing he’ll pull out a victory; and close the lite Heavyweight loop with the most honorable way to complete the chapter of his legacy, by TRYING to defeat the man who beat the man, for more than 5 millions.
    So when Hopkins says he checkmate Stevenson, it’s a designed figure of speech to show how he outguess Stevenson’s plans, to stack more money than Stevenson would have done if the plan would have still been under Stevenson’s control.

    The logic of this story is that Stevenson will unify all the major titles, but instead of doing it in 2 gainful fights, Hopkins has tampered the cards so that Stevenson is left with only one lucrative meaningful fight.
    But Adonis Stevenson message was and still remain the same, he wants to become the Undisputed champion of this division.
    So his target will remain the same; and (no Campillo nor Jean Pascal) will hold him back to reach his goal.

  4. ThisIsTheTruth August 15, 3:07 am

    For Hopkins, on the easy side, Kovalev clan were so convince about the power of this phony lawsuit, they prepared Kovalev mentally and physically for 2 southpoles in the optic to be 100% ready for Adonis Stevenson. But Hopkins change the game, and now Kovalev have to deprogram (southpole) & reprogram (orthodox) himself in a short period of time to fight the sole scientist-unOrthodox Bernard Hopkins.
    Will he be ready on time to change & re-adapt his ring movements and fight the complicated Alien.
    Bernard & I doubt so.
    You see, the real war is between Bernard Hopkins & John David Jackson.
    Adonis Stevenson had this trainer, only for 1 fight; against Darnell Boone. So Stevenson knows what type of trainer he is, hypocrit.
    Former contender Jackson trained Hopkins as a sparring partner for southpoles in both early boxing careers, but Hopkins got the best of him in 1997. Hopkins became better & better and Jackson became worse & worse til retirement. Now Jackson will invest all his knowledge in Kovalev to destroy the Alien he believes he created. But again…
    Bernard & I doubt so.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI_Y0Ds5OB8

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