Bob Arum Boxing’s Puppet Master
By Kirk Jackson
Perhaps by the definition of his job, the title of promoter, Bob Arum is arguably the best to ever do it.
Arum generally promotes his fighters as unbeatable menaces inside the ring, whom every other fighter (not under his Top Rank stable of fighters of course) is afraid of.
He builds guys up, deceives the common fan into mistakenly believing his fighters are the best of the best.
Arum has the tendency to match his star fighters up against tomato cans for the most part and eventually, at some point he matches his star fighters against each other and pockets a ton of cash at the end of the day.
I understand facing soft opposition every once in awhile is a part of the game, it happens all the time. It appears in recent years Top Rank fighters seem to do more often than not, and when they reach the highest level of their profession, generally continue to do so.
To his credit, Arum has promoted some great fighters in his career. Fighters such as Marvin Hagler, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Nonito Donaire just to name a few.
But in recent years, he has been fraudulent in how he has handled business and is one of the main contributors to the demise of boxing. Simply put, he is a poison, and does not care about the future of the sport.
Taking guys that are good fighters and deceiving the public into thinking they are actually great fighters. Fighters such as Antonio Margarito, Kelly Pavlik, Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao just to name a few.
Arum created some kind of mantra, and actually fooled the public into believing Margarito is the most feared and avoided man in boxing. Please.
Aside from being a full fledged cheater, Margarito was an overrated pressure fighter, who had an exceptional chin and great endurance, but lacked any kind of defense, footwork, or noticeable artistic skill whatsoever. His attribute of power is completely in question in light of his whole “loaded gloves” scandal.
Arum even had the nerve of matching Margarito against his most prized fighter at the time Miguel Cotto, knowing that Margarito was playing dirty.
The result of the match up would produce a great fight, with Cotto suffering his first loss as a professional, and irreversible damage done to him mentally and physically as a result of the relentless pressure from a brick fisted Margarito.
To continue on with Cotto, another disservice to him was matching him up against Pacquiao a year after the Margarito debacle. Especially considering the circumstances behind their fight.
Requiring Cotto to meet Pacquiao at a catch weight to defend his own title is criminal. And because Cotto did not comply with the original orders from general Arum, Cotto was stripped of his WBO welterweight belt and told that even if he were to defeat Pacquiao he would not even win his championship belt back. It would then be vacant.
Also matching Cotto in the fight against Pacquiao and knowing he wasn’t the same fighter is a shame and shows how little Arum thinks of Cotto in my opinion. Any person that follows the sport could tell Cotto wasn’t the same fighter since his encounter with Margarito. His struggles against Joshua Clottey and other opposition since indicates such.
Another thing Arum does with many of his fighters is cater to certain markets or ethnic fan bases, and match particular fighters up against soft opposition, marketing those fighters as great because of the fandom dedication and support. Take Kelly Pavlik and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. for example.
Pavlik is a fighter who appeals to middle America for a number of reasons. He has an action first appeasing style and he is white. Because of his look, he may appeal to a particular crowd that may also like mixed martial arts and Arum’s goal may have been trying to lure them in with Pavlik. I think Arum tried to hype him up as a “white hope” and did manage to make some money off of it.
Through his career, Pavlik has been matched against inferior opposition and faced about three good or great fighters. Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez.
Entering the Martinez fight, they probably thought Martinez was too small, and in regards to Hopkins based of his performance against Joe Calzaghe, they probably thought he was on his last legs and ready to get wilt and wither away.
Chavez Jr. has pretty much faced nothing but scrubs his entire career. He has been on the receiving end of beneficial scoring and gift decisions. He had life and death bouts against Sebastian Zbik, Matt Vanda, Carlos Molina and Troy Rowland, (who?).
This guy is a WBC middleweight champion and he is fighting guys like Peter Manfredo? Manfredo hasn’t been relevant since the now defunct reality show “Contender” and is hardly a contender nowadays.
But because of the legendary Chavez name, and brilliant promotion and matchmaking, he seems to get a pass.
Look at Manny Pacquiao. A talented fighter in his own right, but he is hyped up as the greatest thing since sliced bread. He’s not even the best fighter in his division.
He has a nice guy personality and an exciting fighting style. Add in biased commentary from huge media networks like HBO and ESPN, and washed up opposition and you have a superstar.
Recently matching Pacquiao against the likes of Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, David Diaz, Miguel Cotto, etc. and looking at the circumstances behind each fight, it’s just terrible.
Even with the Marquez fights, for the second and third fight especially, Arum was banking on Marquez being on the downside and not the same fighter he once was. Especially with Marquez being 38 years old and moving up two weight divisions.
It kind of back fired with Marquez in their most recent bout, because in the eyes of many once again, he looked to have defeated Pacquiao on points. I know Arum didn’t foresee Pacquiao getting schooled by Marquez, otherwise he probably wouldn‘t of made this fight to begin with.
But because of the controversy behind the fight, Arum is trying to make a fourth fight between the two, instead of a fight with Pacquiao facing Mayweather.
Arum plays off the loyalty of the Filipino fan base, among other fan bases, and has the general public fooled.
This guy is a bonafide liar. He has even admitted his deceit in failed negotiations for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Bob Arum Mr. “Yesterday I was lying, today I am telling the truth.”
Ask federal judge Daniel Weinstein about Arum’s deceit. The man has a history of bribery charges stemming back from 1995.
The truth is, he never wanted to make the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. He doesn’t want to make the fight because he knows what is going to happen, and I have been telling people this for years. Arum knows like any other person that has clear understanding of boxing that Mayweather will probably beat Pacquiao, and rather easily.
Mayweather like Marquez is a counter puncher, and the best defensive fighter of his era. He is technically skilled, is just as fast as Pacquiao and has a five inch reach advantage. And he is bigger and stronger than a 38 year old Marquez, who recently gave Pacquiao fits.
You can do the math.
But instead Arum and his buddies at ESPN want to say Pacquiao agreed to every demand, (which they didn’t), and Mayweather is afraid of Pacquiao’s new and improved right hand, (something they have been claiming for years). I’d ask Marquez is Pacquiao’s right hand has improved but he was rarely touched by it.
Based on what we know about Arum, I don’t know whether to criticize him or actually give him props for duping the common fan.
At the end of the day, he is just trying to make money and has no interest in putting out the best fight for the fans and has no intentions of helping the sport of boxing as a whole.
He has a history of screwing fighters over. He makes a ton of money and takes a ton of money from Pacquiao. He did the same with De La Hoya and Mayweather, but they wised up and left.
He is a greedy old man, who will continue to use fans like puppets, in order to make his fair share of money while screwing over boxers and the fans in the process.