Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Six Olympians now under Al Haymon
By Dan Rafael
The United States Olympic men's boxing team came home from the London Games without a single medal -- the first time in history that has happened -- but those fighters are putting that behind them and looking toward their pro careers.
Six of the nine members of Team USA -- super heavyweight Dominic Breazeale, light heavyweight Marcus Browne, middleweight Terrell Gausha, welterweight Errol Spence Jr., light welterweight Jamel Herring and flyweight Rau'shee Warren -- have signed with manager Al Haymon in recent weeks. Herring signed Wednesday.
Haymon is beefing up a roster of clients already loaded with a who's who of boxing, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Cristobal Arreola, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, Austin Trout, Andre Berto, Seth Mitchell, Peter Quillin and 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year Gary Russell Jr.
Spence, a 22-year-old from Dallas, had the best run of any of the American men at the London Olympics. He advanced to the quarterfinals -- after a controversial loss in the round of 16 was overturned -- before being eliminated.
"I'm putting all of that behind me," Spence said Wednesday. "It's still in the back of my mind, but I have a new path in the pro ranks and won't let that distract me from going and getting a world title. The situation (the lack of any men's medals) was a big disappointment for everybody. Everybody felt down after they lost. Everybody had expectations to get into the medal rounds."
Spence said he is looking forward to moving into the professional ranks and taking off the head gear amateurs must wear and fighting with the smaller gloves used in the pros.
"I see myself having a pro style already," he said. "I'm psyched about (turning pro). It's always been a dream of mine."
Spence fought in the 152-pound amateur weight class, but said he plans to campaign as a 147-pound pro welterweight.
"I see myself moving fast," he said. "I'd like to have three fights before the year is over with. As long as everything goes well and there's no injuries, and I take care of everything I'm supposed to, I see myself moving fast."
Gausha, a 25-year-old from Cleveland who has been training in Carson, Calif., won his first Olympic fight by knockout -- the first KO of the tournament -- before losing in the round of 16. But his aggressive, power style seems ideal for the professional ranks rather than the amateur point system.
Gausha is looking forward to getting his pro career going and is pleased to have signed with Haymon.
"I was always interested in working with him," Gausha said. "After the Games I knew people that knew him and they put in a good word for me, like Adrien Broner, who's a friend of mine. I'm pretty sure Al was watching the Olympics and he contacted me a few weeks after the Games and that's when I decided to sign with him."
Gausha said as a professional he wants to fight in the 160-pound middleweight division, but "I'm thinking with discipline, that over time I could get down to 154. Getting that knockout in the Olympics was a good way to get my name out there on the world stage of the Olympics. I feel complete with what I did in the amateurs even though I didn't get a medal.
"I put in the work and fought all the top fighters. Now I have different goals. I always wanted to be a (professional) world champion, and now is my chance and I am excited about turning pro."
That likely will come on a date to be determined in early November.
"They told me to be ready. I'll be ready for sure," Gausha said.
None of the six Olympians who have signed with Haymon has a deal yet with a promoter. However, it's likely that most, if not all, will work with Golden Boy Promotions, which is involved with most of Haymon's top clients.
Also, just before the Olympics began, Golden Boy and sister networks Showtime and CBS announced a deal under which fighters from the Games would make their pro debuts on CBS on a telecast produced by Showtime in the fall. Haymon's newly signed Olympians almost surely will be part of those cards.
"We all got a close bond, so it will be great fighting on the same cards with each other," Spence said.