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.
RingTV.com: 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 that.
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:
Can 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 trying.
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 well-deserved break.
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...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.