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The Bobfather Turns 90: Bob Arum Hits the Big Nine Oh

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Bob Arum runs Top Rank, the promotional company which had to replace the Ancajas-Rodriguez fight.

How does Bob Arum do it? The weed, perhaps? Maybe savagely lacing into young gun fightwriters with expletives not deleted is it.

Really, seems like the boxing business keeps the greatest promoter of all time, who did his first show in 1966—I wrote about that for RING— and was born during the Herbert Hoover run so remarkably engaged and energized.

One day, the summations will post after the final curtain closes on Arum, the Crown Heights, Brooklyn born Harvard Law grad, government lawyer turned fight game deal maker. The all-time barroom yarn, the utterance to pressmen, “Yesterday I was lying, today I’m telling the truth,” will be most prominent. For now, I’m going to focus not on his ought to be patented persona.

Yes, he can be cuddly as a cactus one moment, I am guessing Terence Crawford did not send a card, and then charming and charismatic as all hell the next, but instead this:

Next time you are watching a Top Rank boxing show, look at the front row, and see the old guy staring into the ring, not looking down at a phone, not schmoozing disinterestedly, during a four rounder featuring a 2-0 Top Rank prospect against a 3-4 gatekeeper.

That’s potent testament to a not-to-ever-be-duplicated only-in-America icon, at age 90 he has a stronger work ethic, more drive and fire than 99% of adults half his age possess.

Here is a release put out by Top Rank to shoutout the occasion:

NEW YORK (Dec. 8, 2021) — Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has hit yet another milestone. Arum, the Brooklyn-born one-time federal prosecutor whose boxing career began with “The Greatest,” turns 90 years old today.

Arum is back in his old stomping grounds to promote Saturday’s ESPN-televised quadruple-header (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) featuring former pound-for-king Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko against former lightweight world champion Richard “RC” Commey in the 12-round main event at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko-Commey marks the 2,120th fight card of his promotional career.

Bob Arum of Top Rank started in boxing promotion in 1966.

Never a punch pulled–Arum doesn’t fight at “sparring speed.” He’s always in destruct and destroy mode.

Arum’s inaugural promotion took place in Toronto on March 29, 1966, when Muhammad Ali defended his heavyweight title against George Chuvalo. In the 55-plus years since Ali-Chuvalo, Arum has promoted many of boxing’s biggest superstars, including 27 Ali fights, the entire middleweight championship run of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, George Foreman’s triumphant return to the ring that culminated in his second heavyweight title, and Manny Pacquiao’s rise to modern-day legend.

In addition, Arum has promoted dozens of fighters from pro debut to world champion, including Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Michael Carbajal, Teofimo Lopez, Shakur Stevenson, Jose Ramirez, Oscar Valdez, Mikaela Mayer, Donald Curry, and Lomachenko.

BOB ARUM BY THE NUMBERS

2,119 Boxing cards promoted
864 Boxing shows TR promoted on ESPN network
677 World title fights promoted by TR
550 Boxing shows TR promoted in Nevada
412 Boxing shows TR promoted in New Jersey
220 American cities in which TR has promoted
196 Boxing shows promoted by TR in California
154 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Texas
129 Boxing shows TR promoted on HBO network
98 Boxing shows promoted by TR on CBS network
92 Foreign cities in which TR has promoted
73 Boxing shows TR promoted on ABC network
73 Boxing shows promoted by TR in New York State
70 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Arizona
63 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Puerto Rico
52 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Mexico
49 Pay-per-view boxing shows promoted by TR
48 Boxing shows promoted by TR in New York City
47 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Illinois
42 States in which TR has promoted boxing
41 Miguel Cotto fights promoted by TR
41 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Pennsylvania
38 Michael Carbajal fights promoted by TR (HOF)
37 Oscar De La Hoya fights promoted by TR (HOF)

At 85 and now, just as frickin’ feisty as ever.

37 Donald Curry fights promoted by TR (HOF)
36 Johnny Tapia fights promoted by TR (HOF)
35 Floyd Mayweather, Jr fights promoted by TR (HOF)
33 James Toney fights promoted by TR
33 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Florida
32 Erik Morales fights promoted by TR (HOF)
31 Micky Ward fights promoted by TR
30 Boxing shows promoted by TR on Showtime/ShoBox networks
29 Mikey Garcia fights promoted by TR
29 Tommy (The Duke) Morrison fights promoted by TR
28 Iran Barkley fights promoted by TR
28 Oscar Valdez fights promoted by TR
27 Muhammad Ali fights promoted or co-promoted by TR
27 Boxing shows promoted by TR on Closed-Circuit TV
27 Foreign countries in which TR has promoted, incl. Puerto Rico
27 Jose Ramirez fights promoted by TR
25 Freddie Roach fights promoted by TR (HOF)

Coach Roach chats with dealmaker Arum before a presser

25 Roger Mayweather fights promoted by TR
24 Boxing shows promoted by TR in New Mexico
24 World heavyweight title fights promoted by TR
24 Terence Crawford fights promoted by TR
20 Marvelous Marvin Hagler fights promoted by TR (HOF)
20 Manny Pacquiao fights promoted by TR
19 Juan Manuel Marquez fights promoted by TR (HOF)
17 Shakur Stevenson fights promoted by TR
16 Robert Garcia fights promoted by TR
14 George Foreman fights promoted by TR (HOF)
14 Boxing shows promoted by TR in China
13 Thomas Hearns fights promoted by TR (HOF)
13 Teofimo Lopez fights promoted by TR
10 Alexis Arguello fights promoted by TR (HOF)
10 Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini fights promoted by TR (HOF)
9 Boxing shows promoted by TR in Colorado
8 Roberto Duran fights promoted by TR (HOF)
7 Sugar Ray Leonard fights promoted by TR (HOF)
7 Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. fights by TR (HOF)
5 Carlos Monzon fights promoted by TR (HOF)
5 Emile Griffith fights promoted by TR (HOF)
4 Mike Tyson fights promoted by TR (HOF)
4 Tyson Fury fights promoted by TR
2 Larry Holmes fights promoted by TR (HOF)
1 Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon jump promoted by Bob Arum
0 Boxing shows (so far!) promoted by TR in: Alabama, Alaska,
Arkansas, Kansas, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming

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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