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Thursday, July 5, 2012
Lopez, Lara sign with Haymon

By Dan Rafael

As a late substitute, Josesito Lopez moved up to welterweight, busted Victor Ortiz's jaw in two places and forced him to retire on his stool after the ninth round for a major upset win June 23 in a breakout performance.

Junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara, who disposed of Freddy Hernandez for a lopsided decision win on June 30, is one of the most avoided fighters in boxing.

But you can count on seeing Lopez and Lara get more notable fights now, for one very obvious reason: They have joined the impressive stable of powerbroker adviser Al Haymon, who has unparalleled influence with the promoters he works with -- primarily Golden Boy -- and with HBO and Showtime, where executives go out of their way to make him happy.

Lopez and Lara signed with Haymon after their recent wins and join a stable that includes crown jewel Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- the key reason for so much of Haymon's juice -- in addition to such notable fighters as Cristobal Arreola, Devon Alexander, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Danny Garcia, Austin Trout, Seth Mitchell, Gary Russell Jr., Antonio Tarver, Sakio Bika and "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, not to mention a host of other lesser-known young fighters on the rise.

Those youngsters include Keith Thurman and Omar Figueroa, who aren't even close to being ready for prime time, but because of Haymon's influence, HBO has handed them prime slots on the July 21 Broner-Vicente Escobedo televised undercard, much to the shock (and displeasure) of many in the industry.

If Haymon can get Thurman and Figueroa -- barely eight-round fighters -- on HBO, imagine what he'll be able to do for Lopez and Lara?

Henry Ramirez trains Arreola and also trains and manages Lopez. He has seen up close what Haymon has done for Arreola. He figured Haymon could do the same thing for Lopez.

"Along with our promoters, Dan Goossen and Thompson Boxing, Al was instrumental in making the Ortiz fight happen," Ramirez said. "His guy [Berto] got pulled out of the fight [for a failed steroid test], and he was instrumental. It's a positive for Josesito moving forward.

"Our thing was to sign with Al to maximize every possible opportunity off of this win. Bringing Al aboard, I think, will benefit us. He can get things done that others can't. I have a relationship with him for over eight years because of Cris, so to me, this was a no-brainer. We're glad he was interested.

"With Al having leverage with the networks, he can get more money than other people can -- someway, somehow. So this is all good. Josesito was very excited to sign with Al. We'll see what's out there next and try to maximize his earning power."

Ramirez said Haymon reached out to him to talk about Lopez the day after his victory against Ortiz.
It was a similar situation with the Golden Boy-promoted Lara, whose manager, Luis DeCubas Jr., has seen what Haymon can do and made the same move after Haymon approached them following the win against Hernandez.

"Any time you can bring in one of the smartest men in any business, you do it," DeCubas said. "My job is to do what's best for my fighter and make him the most money, and in this situation it's bringing in Al Haymon. I think Lara has a very bright future, and the addition of Al Haymon is priceless. We look forward to Al getting Lara the big opportunities he deserves. I couldn't be happier with the scenario we're in."