Bob Arum: The Puppet Master Strikes Again


by Kirk Jackson

I think it’s safe to say many people were shocked with the result of last weekend’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. Many fans were upset, and some are thinking Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum sabotaged the fight. There are many questions and many things to consider. Here’s a theory.

Now, why would Arum have the nerve to sabotage his most prized fighter?

To start off, Arum makes ton money off of Pacquiao. He’s carrying a country on his back, he’s an exciting fighter, a huge draw, HBO loves him, and their commentary of him depicts an unbeatable warrior. Every fight he has, especially with hand-picked Top Rank stable mates, brings in a ton of money for Arum. Whether he matches Pacquiao up against Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Tim Bradley, all Top Rank guys, Arum reels in the dough.

This takes us to Pacquiao’s recent fight against Bradley.

The whole world, except Arum, wants to see Floyd Mayweather take on Manny Pacquiao. Arum does not want that, because Mayweather is going to want a large part of the Pay-Per-View revenue, revenue from the gate, a high guaranteed fighting purse, all that stuff. And quite possibly, Mayweather will defeat Pacquiao, and that’s the last thing Arum wants, his top fighter losing to a fighter he does not control.

With that in mind, Arum will do whatever it takes to keep Pacquiao from fighting Mayweather, like I’ve mentioned plenty of times before. Whether its drug testing, money split, whatever the case may be, Arum does not want the fight to happen. And honestly, it’s quite audacious to think Pacquiao deserves a 50/50 split with Mayweather.

Look at the history: Arum would rather have Manny Pacquiao fight Joshua Clottey, and yes, he actually made that terrible match happen. He put together Pacquiao vs. Margarito, despite the fact Margarito got utterly annihilated by Shane Mosley a little more than a year prior, served a one-year suspension, and then had a tune up against a tomato can before facing Pacquiao for a championship belt they stripped from the real champion, Sergio Martinez.

Arum actually had the audacity to put together a match between Manny Pacquiao and faded star Shane Mosley, a 39-year-old man coming off back-to-back terrible showings against Mayweather and Sergio Mora. That’s what Arum does, he deceives people.

He’s back at it again. By having Bradley and Pacquiao engage in a trilogy, which will extend from this year and into the next, Arum will generate tons of money, and keep Pacquiao away from fighting Mayweather. But in order for the trilogy to come into effect, Pacquiao had to lose first, thus causing a reason for a rematch. It’s a huge shock across the world of sports: the controversial ending will only add to anticipation for the rematch and will bring in more Pay-Per-View buys than their first encounter.

Pacquiao will win the rematch, setting the table for a winner take all third fight for all the marbles. There was rumored to be a rematch date of November 10th set up even before Pacquiao and Bradley stepped in the ring. And Pacquiao himself didn’t seem too upset after the decision was announced. I would be enraged if I just got robbed on the score cards.

Some people may say, why Bradley? Boxing purists are fully aware of the accomplishments of Bradley, but casual fans up until now, weren’t familiar with the man from Palm Springs, California.

Bradley is a likeable family man, a hard worker and came from a tough background. Although he does not possess blazing punching power, Bradley does have other qualities Arum will be able to market to the public. Bradley has a high work-rate, is a determined fighter, undefeated, and now has a victory over the legendary Manny Pacquiao. He will be even bigger once the trilogy is over.

Arum is planting seeds for the future; he knows Pacquiao is going to retire sooner rather than later, and he is setting Bradley up as one of his top guys.

Maybe I am giving Arum too much credit; maybe he isn’t pulling the strings as this article suggests. But his history indicates he is clearly capable of deceiving the public and I wouldn’t put anything past him. He has screwed over his fighters in the past and Pacquiao is not the exception.

“I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight,” said Bob Arum after the fight. “I’m going to make a lot of money on the rematch, but this was outrageous.”

Yep that pretty much sums it up: Money.

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