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Talking Boxing, And Porn Stars, With Promoter Bob Arum

Michael Woods

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Living legend promoter Bob Arum is in town this week to helm the Madison Square Garden card, topped by Vasyl Lomachenko versus Jorge Linares, for Linares’ 135 pound crown.

ESPN will show that, as part of the mega deal between Top Rank and The Worldwide Leader. Yes, Arum and his company are still relevant, and nt tengentially so. They are still pack leaders.

So “Talkbox” always enjoys picking his brain, for anecdotes and wisdom. He gave a hint on how he stays atop the pile. You had the Eddie Hearn announcement yesterday, and content deals coalescing here and there. “You have to understand, everything changes, because electronically, everything has changed,” he told me. Everything was linear, and now, no. ESPN and Disney is knee deep in digital, and their ESPN+ is “second to none,” he said, slipping into promoter mode, full on. He said you can watch all the Ali, and Marciano fights, plus Premier League soccer, and so much more. He watched a Yankees vs Indians game on the app the other day, and he switched the stream to his big box TV. And there were no commercial beween innings. “It’s a whole new world!”

He mentioned that UFC is part of that family now. He thinks UFC is “horrendous,” but it’s no big deal, because there is room for everyone, and if he doesn’t want to watch MMA, he can watch other things.

He said there will be 28-30 events a year that TR will promote on linear and +, and they will buy 24 other events “from all around the world” for fans to watch. “Now, isn’t that great? You will get a fight from Japan at 8:30 in the morning, fights from Thailand, Phillipines, from England.

Months back, the mere mention of UFC and Dana White would have sent Arum into a minor tizzy. Was not a fan…

We know White is edging in the boxing waters…and isn’t that a matter of divvying up market share? No biggie, said Arum. “If he does Mikey Garcia or whatever, he couldn’t do it on ESPN,” he said. No conflict, he stated. “He could do a fight show, but he’d have to do it on Fox, Showtime, or HBO. There’s room enough for everyone, absolutely!”

Arum said that he had a meeting on Tuesday, with the head of a book division, with CAA, and “we’re getting ready to hpefully launch the project where my book will come out.” We can assume there are a dozen spicy tales that he’s kept to himself.

Speaking of spicy…I told Arum that previous guest “Big Baby” Miller had hung with Stormy Daniels days before.

“Did he get any,” Arum asked.

Nah, just chatted…

“What a waste,” he said, chuckling.

He shared his own brush with a porn person. Back in the day, a gal he was dating said that Marilyn Chambers..

..was in the vicinity and would be keen to meet him. He took a pass, he said.

More topics we touched on: Many fighters want to be all things, be the fighter, act as manager, run their own promotional arm. It’s cool, Arum said, when guys reach a certain level. “They should think twice about forming a promotional company and promoting other fighters, because, trust me, it’s a license to lose money,” the Brooklyn born dealmaker told me. “The chances of making money are not very great.”

So much good stuff in this session, my friends, check it out.

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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