He is among the five most entertaining, pound for pound, guys in the sport of boxing, be they fighters, promoter, managers, executives, media, everything. Bob Arum would snag a lot of votes as P4P No. 1, when surveying who is most entertaining a pugilism public figure.
The 85 year old Brooklyn native, now a Vegas resident, can be bombastic, then drop down the decibels and surprise you with an admission of humility in the next breath.
He’s prone to answering a press query with acidic wit and steamrolling logic, occasionally with a withering edge. Yes, it isn’t as entertaining, at times, when one is in the line of fire.
Arum is a top interview because he’s not there to provide standard BS. He offers contrary logic or fact or opinions, and isn’t going to go along to get along with media. He was asked about a “changing of the guard” fight between Terence Crawford and Senator Manny Pacquiao, Saturday night at MSG after Crawford stopped Felix Diaz, and he dismissed that designation. It’s not about setting up a chain of custody of supremacy, but actually it’s about offering a fight fans want. “Changing of the guard is bullshit fake news…yeah, it’s fake news,” he said, a grin nearly breaking out on his visage. If economic justice can be hashed out, and fans want it, it will be made.
Crawford will fight this summer, and “don’t ask me, did they (HBO) give me a date, that’s yesterday’s news,” Arum said, just warming up. “I’m a fucking promoter, I’m gonna get a fight that the people want to see, I’m gonna put it on a date that I want, and just wait.” But what about HBO, Mike Coppinger asked. “That’s none of your fuckin business,” the dealmaker said. “What the fuck are you talkin about? HBO has done great for boxing, they’ve been very good to us, I have nothing bad to say about HBO, but they’re just a fucking network, that’s all they are. They don’t own the business of boxing. And you may also want to call upthe guy over at Showtime and tell him the same thing, he don’t own boxing. He’s just a fucking network that puts on stuff for their subscribers.”
There is a novelty aspect, the eff bombing from the 80 something. But also, the inability and unwillingness to suffer fools gladly or at all is refreshing. He is missing half a PC gene and in this age, that’s different.
He even did it with his own boxer, pointing out it’s silly to bring up a fight with Keith Thurman, right after Thurman had elbow surgery, as Bud did.
More comedy. How about Adrien Broner for Crawford? “I don’t wanna get my car shot up,” Arum said, referring to last month’s incident which saw Broner get shot at while in a car.
Arum offered insight on how such a loud crowd, a decent number, too, went to the Garden to see the Nebraskan. Because you had people from Peru seeing a Peruvian, Uzbeks, Shakur Stevenson fans. It takes more than one featured player to build a promotion. Why haven’t more figured that out? “I don’t know, maybe they’re too old,” he cracked, again almost breaking into a grin.
More Arum gold. He manages to make points, sometimes subtly, on rivals, in unexpected moments. He’d touched on wanting Shakur Stevenson to fight every six weeks, and getting Crawford back in a few months. “The idea that you have a talent like a Crawford, or Lomachenko, and you have them fight once a year, it’s a crime!” He said De La Hoya fought five times a year, “that’s what you gotta do.” Amen, I say. Guys losing momentum after impressive wins is a pet peeve of mine, and is of so common in this age. It speaks poorly of the promotional acumen of those momentum squanderers.
Arum ended strong, thanking the heavens that Crawford and Lomachenko are “not in the same weight class.” Then, “Rigondeaux is a pain in the ass.”
Crawford too offered some analysis of the just completed effort and what might come next. “I’m ready for whoever, I’ve been saying that for years. But it’s not up to me. But everybody wants to know, who’s the next guy for Terence to fight. I’ll fight anybody, it doesn’t matter who it is.” Who can provide a challenge to him, he was asked. They said, some did, that Felix Diaz was his toughest challenge to date, and we saw how that turned out. “I always say, I don’t know until I get into the ring,” he said.
My take: You tell me, who is ahead of Arum on your P4P list of most entertaining fight figures. Mike Tyson, quite compelling. Floyd Mayweather, he will get some votes. Adrien Broner talks a decent game. Who else? Arum gets my vote. That mouth, that brain, that comic timing…Arum tops my list.