Nowadays it seems like fighters are signing with Al Haymon daily and Haymon fighters are turning down career high paydays from signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. First it was Peter Quillin who turned down 1.4 million dollars to fight Matt Korobov. Then it was Deontay Wilder who turned down a 2 million dollar offer to fight Bermane Stiverne had he signed with Roc Nation.
While most of the news last night revolved around Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. signing with Al Haymon, another Haymon client, Keith Thurman was added to the list of Haymon fighters who have turned down career high paydays to sign on with Jay-Z’s promotional outfit Roc Nation.
In a report by ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, Keith Thurman confirms that he was offered a 3 fight deal worth 6 million dollars.
Here’s what Thurman told Rafael:
“I listened. How could you not listen when they throw those kind of numbers around,” Thurman said. “The way I felt at the end is I don’t see how I’m not making $6 million next year anyway. It all came fast. I’m just a patient cat. I’m patient. If you keep a door open you can always walk through it eventually. Right now I’m comfortable with what I’m doing with Team Haymon.
“I was more than flattered by the offer. It was a dream come true actually. I laugh at the fact that I didn’t jump on board. I find it funny. I find it ironic because I was waiting my entire life to be offered a certain deal worth millions. And here I am saying no to a $6 million deal because I believe it’s in my future, if not more, going into 2015.
“I’m not sure if I want to tie down with any entity no matter what they plan to do. I want to learn about this sport – the business aspect of the sport. Maybe I should have jumped. Maybe some other fighter will. What if I lose to Bundu? But I’m a man of faith and I can be patient. I’m looking forward to 2015. Time will tell if I made the right decision.”
Haymon who is a manager/advisor has on all 3 occasions advised those clients to turn down career high paydays. The bad blood between Haymon and Jay-Z is definitely an issue but Roc Nation has shown it’s willing to overpay for fighters without promotional contracts. Because most of Haymon clients don’t have promotional contracts, it’s easy to see why they are pursuing Haymon advised clients.
It’s no secret that Haymon is moving through with his NBC Sports Network deal and that in itself could be a reason Haymon is not having his clients sign with other promoters unless they are tied to a deal. Most of the fighters who have promotional contracts are either tied in with Golden Boy Promotions, Leon Margules’ Warriors Boxing, and Dibella Entertainment.
Thurman also said he wants to see what Jay-Z could do in boxing before he would jump ship, which is a valid point. But Roc Nation has high profile athletes like Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz, Dez Bryant, Robinson Cano, and CC Sabathia among others who seem to be doing well off for themselves.
According to Rafael, Thurman would have gotten a $2 million advance against the total package, so he could have a nice chunk of the money up front, followed by fight-night payouts of $1 million, $1 million and $2 million. Thurman was interested in the deal and even had Roc Nation Sports tweak the offer to give him payouts of $1.5 million, $1.5 million and $1 million.
Roc Nation is looking to make a splash in boxing but seems to be getting black listed by Haymon. They also offered Guillermo Rigondeaux a very lucrative contract which he turned down as well. Rumor has it they are in hot pursuit of Andre Ward as well. Some industry insiders have mentioned to me that some Haymon clients are scratching their head at the amount of money being turned down when it comes to Roc Nation.
Time will tell if Roc Nation will continue trying to invest in boxing but for the time being, they are throwing around big money at big fish, sooner or later someone will bit, or so they hope.