Golden Boy Promotion’s $300 million lawsuit against Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) for allegedly violating antitrust laws and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act was dismissed by a federal judge. The case, which began in May of 2015, ended when summary judgement was granted by the judge. The lawsuit was centered on Al Haymon attempting to monopolize boxing and violating the Muhammad Ali Act.
The Muhammad Ali Act requires that fighter managers and promoters be separate individuals in an effort to keep fighters from being taken advantage of. Al Haymon works as a manager for many fighters and the lawsuit alleges that Al Haymon is serving as the promoter and manager for fighters, using the local promoters as a way to circumvent the Ali Act. However, no fighter had said that they were pressured or coerced into selecting a certain promoter. In fact, Judge Walter cited Haymon’s willingness to work with many promoters as a reason for the case’s dismissal.
From the statement by US District Judge John F. Walter provided to ESPN:
“This evidence clearly demonstrates that when it is in the best interests of Haymon Sports’ boxers, and consistent with its fiduciary duties, Haymon Sports freely permits its boxers to participate in bouts promoted by Golden Boy and other ‘legitimate’ promoters,” Walter wrote. “Moreover, the fact that these fights were extremely lucrative for these so-called ‘legitimate’ promoters demonstrates that Haymon Sports is not attempting to harm competition by unlawfully tying out or destroying these promoters.”
The PBC also negotiated exclusive broadcast deals with television networks. When Top Rank Boxing and Haymon settled their $100 million lawsuit out of court the PBC was forced to relinquish the exclusivity as part of their network agreements. As a result Golden Boy Promotions has partnered with ESPN.
Haymon’s willingness to promote his fighters along with Golden Boy’s and Top Rank’s was a big part of the judge’s dismissal of the case. Floyd Mayweather Jr., managed by Al Haymon, fought against Top Rank’s Manny Pacquiao and multiple Haymon fighters matching against Golden Boy fighters.
A big distinction that Judge John F. Walter made in his ruling was that the anti-trust laws are meant to protect competition and not competitors. Judge Walter said that the damages Golden Boy Promotions claimed were only harmful to Golden Boy, not competition as a whole.
The PBC has put on more fights and paid fighters more per fight, which has improved the promotion industry for boxing. Judge Walter believed that Al Haymon and PBC hurt Golden Boy Promotion’s business but not the boxing promotion business as an industry.