I forget exactly how we got here, but I did ‘go there' a little bit and discussed Donald Trump with Bob Arum during a chat a couple days ago, and this is how it came up.
For a bunch of years, we've conversed about the state of the nation, and the ramifications of having a “leader” like Trump holding so much sway over the populace.
Here's a sampling:
Before the 2016 election, Arum said he wanted to do a debate against Trump.
Arum felt disgusted 2 on coronavirus.
The promoter exulted when Biden downed Trump.
Arum was not pleased that Trump got so much love in the last election, versus Joseph Biden.
That was then…I've dialed almost all the way back on the paying attention to the “political” narratives being pitched and run with and misused effectively. I was telling Arum that, and he interrupted me. That's OK, I am that same way, I get excited and blurt.
“Bullshit,” Arum said. “You stopped because you were addicted to Trump!”
“Bob,” I said, “you didn't let me finish! I was going to say, I realized I stepped away not because I wised up.” It's because, I said, when Trump slithered down to Mar-a-lago to plot his next moves, and stopped having the same sort of coverage and platforms, he was now out of site and largely out of mind.
At the end of January, I really did cut back hard on my intake of “political news” and the commentary comprises 80% of the coverage done by an MSNBC, for example. “I was addicted to Trump,” I confessed to Arum.
“We all were,” Arum said. Same for him, he said, he's now not so inclined to “keep track” of the latest indignities, buffooning, blustering and stirring of the drama pot. “It was the best reality television ever, because he was capable of doing any kind of crazy thing. I hardly watch the news now.”
There is now more room, arguably, for focus on all these moving parts, from the Bobfather, who turns 90 on Dec. 8. He admitted to me that he's whittled his consumption of “news” way down since Donald Trump left office, and so he's enjoying watching some programs that are not so much going to affect one's blood pressure. Arum liked Hacks on HBO Max very much, and also White Lotus, on the same platform. I turned him on to Flacks, starring Anna Paquin, on Amazon Prime.
I then pivoted to this fight game, from the political arena fight game. Covid uncertainty is still impacting the fight game, cementing the adage that if you wanna make God laugh, make plans for the future and assume they are immutable. Arum and Top Rank are proceeding full steam ahead, as fast as is prudent.
Top Rank has a show in Tucson, Arizona, topped by Mexican native and Arizona resident Oscar Valdez, on Friday, Sept 10, Arum told me. Valdez defends his junior lightweight crown against Robson Conceicao, a 16-0 Brazilian who is stepping up 1.5 levels, maybe, from previous tests. In his last outing, the 30 year old Valdez (29-0) impressed mightily in stopping out Miguel Berchelt, in February.
Then there's that Oct. 9 Tyson Fury ring return, against old “pal” Deontay Wilder, at T-Mobile in Las Vegas. My fingers and two toes are crossed that this fight gets off the runway, takes flight, and reaches a destination, of resolution.
Arum also mentioned the Oct. 23 Top Rank show, headlined by a Shakur Stevenson-Jamel Herring faceoff. “That's a very interesting fight,” Arum said.
“Herring is a Marine, who was in Afghanistan. Shakur is managed by James Prince.” I straight up told Bob that Shakur's last fight, on June 12 against stinker Jeremiah Nakathila, was a sleeper, not in a good way. I think that Shakur could well be in a mode to shut up critics like me, and that could make for a bout that possesses more spark and fire than some assume. “Shakur did apologize, basically, and say he'd do better next time, so we'll see,” I said to Bob.
“That's what he's saying,” the promoter replied.
We also touched on the pro debut of Nico Ali Walsh, a son of Muhammad Ali's daughter Rasheeda, on the Aug. 14 show, topped by a Joshua Franco-Andrew Moloney battle, which screened on ESPN. I wondered, is that deal considered sort of a novelty, or does this Ali Walsh kid have real promise? “I know the family very well, they are nice people. He's serious about it. He has very little background in boxing, he was working with trainer Sugar Hill, who likes how he's developing. And did I see any mannerisms or anything which reminded me of Ali? He's like a middle class kid, he's very intelligent. He went to one of the best high schools in Nevada, Bishop Gorman, a private prep school, Catholic. Dena (his step-daughter) went there. Then he went on to UNLV.”
Arum noted that the Today Show did a hit on Nico, and yep, he liked that buzz. Those morning shows used to do more stories from the boxing space, now and again, understanding that select stories about resilient and charismatic pugilists can and do resonate with “regular' Joes and Janes. “We'll take stories like that, period,” Arum said. “That sort of story hadn't appeared on there in years!”
Specifics on the whens and wheres for a Joe Smith light heavy title defense against Umar Salamov will be firmed up soon, Arum said. That's an October/November proposition. If things align, and this is boxing, it's a big if, if the Long Islander Smith could win, he then maybe would fight Danny Jacobs, the Brooklyn native in the first quarter of 2022.
Then, looking further down the near line, Top Rank will be back in NYC, in a big way, with Vasiliy Lomachenko at MSG. That's December 11, the big room, and as per usual, TR will segue from the Heisman presentation, into the boxing, with ESPN.
I will presume no softball will be scheduled for that time frame.