Jim Lampley Slams Al Haymon on HBO’s ‘The Fight Game’

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    120506-jim-lampley-1024The Fight Game with Jim Lampley is an excellent platform to use if done correctly. However the criticism has been plenty from on lookers and such. Bringing on Michelle Beadle wasn’t a move many liked and when harsh criticisms are needed, it seems like to many, Lampley does it when it doesn’t involve anyone on the HBO network.

    Case in point, Al Haymon.

    Lampley ended the year firing, going at the power broker advisor and his dealings especially on a down 2014 year for many of his clients in terms of big fight. Here is the excerpt of what Lampley said.

    “We keep returning on TFG to the depiction of boxing as a risk vs. reward equation,” Lampley said. “Our person of the year is a man who is widely acknowledged to have, on behalf of his star client Floyd Mayweather, mastered that equation like no other manager in history. But our designation of Al Haymon as the year’s most influential figure has little to do with his advice to last year’s Person of the Year, Mayweather. It’s about what he is doing with the other reported 130-plus fighters who now make up his clientele…..If you had a sense 2014 was a year somewhat devoid of compelling top-level competition you wouldn’t be off base.”

    True indeed, but Mayweather was one HBO’s staple on pay-per-view and you can say some of his fights that were on pay-per-view, much like a green Victor Ortiz, an older Miguel Cotto, and a smaller Ricky Hatton just to name a few, weren’t really threatening and when HBO aired those fights, no criticism was waned.

    Lampley continued, “Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson had opportunities to fight three fellow stars, Sergei Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins, and Jean Pascal. He avoided all three. Middleweight titlist Peter Quillin gave up a belt and a career-high purse to avoid a fight with Mat Korobov. Talented junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz fought a sparring partner on the undercard of Mayweather-Maidana II. Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse, logical opponents for each other, fought lesser opponents on the same card. Danny Garcia fought a 140-pound opponent so under qualified even the governing bodies that market his belts wouldn’t dignify the enterprise by charging a sanctioning fee. Rising welterweight force Keith Thurman fought long-faded former lightweight Julio Diaz, then fought a 40-year old nonentity. All these stars are advised by Al Haymon, and that’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

    Again point taken here as well. I agree with all Lampley’s points but how about Sergey Kovalev fighting guys like Cedric Agnew and Blake Caparello? Kovalev is a monster but those fights were cakewalks. How about green lighting Gennady Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio? Golovkin is one of the best fighters in the world but a mismatch like that should deserve as much criticism as some of the shots he took at Haymon.

    HBO under the direction of Ross Greenburg and Kery Davis were infamous for plenty Haymon mismatches especially those involving Andre Berto, a fighter that would get 7 figures to fight the likes of Freddy Hernandez, Juan Urango and Jan Zaveck. But that’s in the past and this is now. HBO did have a solid year in 2014 but not nothing to write home about. They went dark for a period in the summer but did end 2014 with a good run. Showtime outdid them in 2013 but took a massive step back with all the mismatches Lampley mentioned.

    So how about the outlook for Haymon and his 130 clients in 2015?

    Here’s what Lampley had to say:

    “It would be great for boxing if one brilliant entrepreneur managed an astonishing client list of 130-plus fighters with the consistent objective of making the most attractive and competitive fights available, within reasonable limits to protect their health and business prospects. But that isn’t Haymon’s game. He’s about avoidance of risky competition. His formula has worked for star client Floyd Mayweather for a variety of reasons, among them that Mayweather took the right perceived risks earlier on, versus Genaro Hernandez and Oscar De La Hoya, to get to where he is now. But the Mayweather approach is not the right approach for the overall enhancement of boxing.”

    “Boxing fans want to see great fights, without which it is difficult to earn an identity as a great fighter. It’s widely reported that for the next two years, Haymon will provide talent for as many as 40 boxing telecasts on NBC Sports Net, and NBC. This would normally be cause to rejoice for everyone in the business. But no one is rejoicing now, unless the philosophy changes and viewers get to see the best fighting the best. And based on what happened to Haymon’s clients in 2014, that’s the last thing we can expect. So in gathering together the largest concentration of boxing talent in the history of the sport, and then mostly shielding that talent, from the kind of competition that would make him a hero to the boxing world, Al Haymon is the 2014 TFG Person of the Year.”

    Lampley is right. We should be rejoicing boxing getting more dates on other networks especially if regular network television is the reach. But if history was too repeat itself a third time, Haymon would give a black eye to another network. He did it to HBO, Showtime, and here’s hoping he doesn’t do it to NBC. Here’s hoping to the third time being a charm.

    I do commend Lampley for being a big voice in boxing and going after one of the biggest power brokers in boxing but Lampley should be fair and call out his own side for things that need correction, then his show can be the platform it should be.