Ability. Affability. Availability.
Over nearly six decades, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has demonstrated an affinity for all three in what feels like infinity.
Perhaps the greatest sports promoter in world history, these three words cannot apply to The Bobfather without the mirrored reciprocation of the public (which now includes the highest choice cuts of independent press) and a collective voice who can counter with one word [he cannot] over generations: Loyalty.
Non-compromised by a mainstream paycheck with a signature that might as well read Narrative Control Hancock, the independent press represents the true nature of a fighter’s origins as opposed to their V.I.P now, which forces them to become bouncers that have to check muh’phuckas at the door.
Ask ESPN senior writer Dan Rafael, who gets lit up on a conference call by unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (34-0, 25KOs) for a perceived PPV slight. “Bud” gave insipid copy in between lost connections the rest of the way– but that’s just it, lost connections. He cannot relate to Dan, so consequently, doesn’t feel comfortable relaying information to someone beyond his community who’s been planted there.
I’m not getting a haircut at Stanley’s Quaffe Shop and talking their talk. Nah. I’m going to Tyrone’s Cutz waaaaaaay around the corner if you will, where you can get a bean pie and might watch somebody get a black eye at the same time. Where the patrons break laws and… old beef thaws and… OG’s cook chitlens and hogmaws for all of y’all. It’s where the church ladies stop by with the grandkids and wear the badges. Where the black sheeps on dirt bikes roam and look at Mark Kriegel…
..types kinda funny and case his ass. Where old Ebony and Jet magazines still hang around with the lingering smell of Clubman Pinaud in the cut.
Stop playing with us.
These are the people that Floyd Mayweather Vs Manny Pacquiao alienated because of promotional greed. They tasted that overpriced “marinated” steak that made its way onto hood grills and still apply toothpicks with perturbed expressions they can’t stop scrubbing away. They remember; with leery eyes, tightened jaws and fists clinching a Benjamin Franklin note tight enough to make him scream. Don’t play games with black people Bob — not this time. “We” saw what IBF welterweight king Errol Spence Jr did to Mikey Garcia, in a non-demanded PPV fight at $75 a pop. That’s three haircuts homie.
On Saturday, April 20 at Madison Square Garden (Live on ESPN+ 9PM ET), Bud rolls up and smokes a mere con into a former Freddie Roach disciple that gets absolutely stomped in three vitriolic rounds. The best thing about this upcoming card is a glimpse into the future in the form of a looming superstar in 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson. I’ll never forget Vasyl Lomachenko telling me after the weigh-in for Guillermo Rigondeaux, with a certain awe quality in his eyes that made them twinkle, that Shakur was much tougher than he expected Rigo to be. In scouting him, this is appears to be the long awaited answer to Sugar Ray Robinson.
Write that down.
And I know his name is really Amir Khan (33-4, 20KOs), Ok? We know he gave Manny Pacquiao a really hard time at the Wild Card Gym around the same time Barack Obama first became president. So? We know he’s unbeaten at 147 and was paint jobbing Canelo Alvarez before being spilled all over T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And? We don’t give a damn about that. He’s getting KTFO. Again.
Describing Khan as “in the way,” anything less than going Breidis Prescott on the English product might amount to a bad bag of “Bud” when considering a pound-for-pound re-up showdown with Spence.
We kinda sorta gave a damn about Spence in a showdown with WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, that is, right up until watching Josesito Lopez rag-doll him in the 7th round. Thurman is now so 2017 until he proves otherwise, and we already talked about Pacquiao on the aforementioned grill, right?
“Yo Bud, what’s good man?” I shout out as he passes by with his family on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles near Staples Center last December. Eyes revealing an eidetic memory, the proud native of Omaha, NE is in La La Land to support WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder before his clash with Tyson Fury.
“What’s going on Bro?” asks Crawford with caution, bracing himself for questions or selfie pic requests that ain’t coming. When he realizes they’re not, we exchange fist bumps and looks of recognition with slight grins.
A random, would be photographer in Timothy Bradley captures us two years prior at Pacquiao vs Vargas, and ‘Desert Storm” gets bumped in the process. But it’s cool though. It turned an otherwise blurry picture into a Picasso worth framing. Bud hasn’t changed– and that’s enough for me. I do wonder, however, about his ringwalk song before facing former blue chip sensation Jose Benavidez last year, and if he knows the actual meaning of “All The Stars” featuring SZA and Kendrick Lamar. I wanted to ask him a few off the wall questions during last Tuesday’s international media conference call, questions only black people would ask each other, but Top Rank PR Evan Korn informs all that Bud has been lost but will return. I have to get lost too, and won’t return due to time constraints. I’m still waiting on a transcript from that call.
As I glance at a framed picture of myself and Spence Jr on Coney Island before his bludgeoning of Leonard Bundu..
..in front of millions on NBC in late summer 2016, it dawns on me that weeks prior in Las Vegas, Crawford has become the undisputed super lightweight champion after smashing Julius Indongu. “The Truth” is, no one was thinking about buying Bud at that time, but this fight was in fact “marinating” then. The very purpose of that process, in old school sweet science terms, is promotional foresight in setting up the tent years in advance, so that when the urban guests arrive in their finest gear and flashiest cars and jewelry, there’s two different types of A1 steaks waiting for them with no need for sauce.
What a BBQ it was for Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Thomas Hearns in September 1981. They were prime cuts and black people knew it. I was a kid. I was there and it was magic. When they did it again in 1989 and we were all disappointed, it really didn’t matter. Our eyes were “too big for your stomachs”, as Nana would say. The first was satisfying enough.
Spence and Crawford are 29 and 31, respectively; at least what Leonard and Hearns were in modern terms relative to now.
Also on April 20, former all-world super lightweight world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia faces Adrian Granados. If he wins (and he will), DSG would be worth renegotiation if you’re Top Rank looking to make a deal with Al Haymon. Bud Vs Swift would be “Lit”, and literally put niggaz of both genders (or 57 of them, right? I’ve lost count) on cloud nine if we keep this real. If “Bud” can’t smoke “Swift”, then we would just know that he wasn’t “The Truth” — who would definitely butcher “Showtime” Shawn Porter. Assuming they are what they say they are… Superstars, then there should be no fear in making a genuine Superfight at the end of 2019. If the ridiculous notion of a non-demanded Mayweather Vs Pacquiao II was flirted with for the end of 2018, you better not forget the community that slapped the shit out of that idea.
Stop being trifling. Don’t play with black people no more Bob. You either Al. We know where to find Debo.