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Bob Arum Talks Inoue v Gervonta, Politricks And Old Rival Don King

Michael Woods

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The 88 year old deal-maker Bob Arum checked in with NYF, sounding fairly buoyant, predicting that in a week, the nation will send a message that change is desired, in the form of the choosing of a party change at the White House. The subject came up, in the context of how easy or hard it was proving to be to factor in travel for some of his overseas talent, like the Japanese super-fighter, Naoya Inoue, who gloves up Saturday in Las Vegas, on ESPN+.

“If we had competent leadership, it would absolutely disappear with great leadership,” Arum said, as we talked about challenges still existing with travel for the athletes. “On Tuesday, I think we’re good in the Rust Belt states, and I would love if Dems win in some red states. I think we’re good in Arizona, I think we’re in good shape in Nevada, Georgia could go democrat, Iowa looks good. My hope is Joe Biden wins in one or two states, like South Dakota, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia…then this election is over by 10:30 PM ET.”

It’s six days away now from partial D-Day; people who take in news of a certain sort know that “early” voting is all the rage this year, and that turnout so far is showing trending that may well indicate that Americans this time around are going to steer away from the “Make America Great Again” guy who told the white supremacist terror group to “stand by” when asked during a debate to repudiate white supremacy once and for all, forcefully.

A couple of you might be curious, does Arum maybe, like, hop on the phone and chat politricks with Don King, talk old times and election possibilities.

“No, I talk to sensible people,” said the 89 in December Arum, some of that Brooklyn salty charm leaking out. Like, he said, he talked to a sitting Senator Tuesday, and also Nevadan Jon Ralston, the political analyst. “King’s a schmuck.”

Naoya Inoue has been in Las Vegas for more than a week, promoter Arum said on this Tuesday phoner, and his weight is on target for the Friday weigh-in ahead of the Saturday clash against Jason Maloney, which will screen on ESPN+.

That’s good news, being that 19-0 The Monster makes his home in Japan, and no one needs to tell you that COVID has impacted travel plans, and fight matchups and most pockets of planet Earth. But so far so good for the Top Rank main event to play out at the MGM Bubble on Halloween night, Arum said.

“I did a Zoom Monday with his opponent Moloney, the former world title challenger from Melbourne, Australia,” Arum said. “It’s a terrific fight. And if Inoue, defending his WBA/IBF bantamweight world titles, wins, we will figure out his people want him to do a fight in Japan for New Year’s Eve, or have us do the next fight here. We’ll get him in the spring. There are plenty of options, like John Riel Casimero (the WBO 118 pound champ, who downed title challenger Duke Micah Sept. 26), and everybody up to 122.

In the co-feature, unbeaten 2016 U.S. Olympian and Los Angeles native Mikaela Mayer (from CA; 13-0 with 5 KOs) will challenge the Polish WBO female junior lightweight world champion Ewa Brodnicka (19-2 eith 2 KOs), and heavyweight Jared Anderson (from Ohio; 6-0 with 6 KOs) stream live on ESPN+ starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Yes indeed, Arum is aware there are other entertainment options for sports fans on Saturday. Showtime is trotting out Gervonta Davis on a PPV production, against Leo Santa Cruz, from Texas. He said he’s not worried about the Sho fare. You can pay $49.99 for a year’s subscription to Plus, he said, or pony up a premium fee for the Gervonta card. “Ours, you do have to be a subscriber,” he continued. But, he stated, “They are gonna do no business.” Santa Cruz is a viable foe, though, I pointed out.

“It’s not because it’s not a good fight, but asking people to pay that during the pandemic, it’s ridiculous,” Arum continued. “The only way pay per view works, for forever, is when you can get a bunch of people over your house.” That option being disabled, and the prevalence if piracy, he said, make it an uphill climb with lead hiking boots, in his mind.

Business-side aside, as far as the contest goes, one has to wonder what type of rust effect there might be on Inoue. He was last seeing live fire on Nov. 7, 2019, against Nonito Donaire.

It was a harder lift than many assumed it would be, and was that because, I don’t know, he’s reached his athletic peak? 118 is a bit too taxing for him to make? He’s not a top 3 pound for pounder? Or maybe that Donaire is an A fighter, with a heart right there will his skill set of techniques and weapons as a massive plus to his credit? Monster fanatics didn’t like seeing those counters from Donaire get to him. Rips to the body, too, those were landing from the ultra seasoned Donaire, who wasn’t put off even a tiny bit by the Inoue hype. We think some of what worked for Nonito, especially that willpower, that intrepid mindset, has been imbued into the twin Moloney? I don’t expect him to be able to replicate the speed-power-timing-accuracy packaging Inoue saw from Donaire, so mindset is going to be that much more important.

How are you seeing this Top Rank main event, readers?

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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