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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bob Arum gives Top Rank State of the Union Address

Pacquiao vs Clottey News
by Ricardo Lois

Jan 10, 2009 -

Last Sunday Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum visited with The Boxing Truth Radio to discuss Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming battle with Joshua Clottey, the fall-out in negotiations with Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the possibility of Edwin Valero fighting Humberto Soto, middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik’s next move, and other topics central to his promotion’s business.

(Click here to see arch-rival UFC President Dana White state how he's dying to see Mayweather-Pacquiao.)

Here is a transcript from the interview. (You can listen to the entire show here.)

THE BOXING TRUTH: We understand that the Joshua Clottey fight with Manny Pacquiao is now a done deal and will be going down to Cowboy’s stadium in Texas.

Bob Arum: That is correct. One of the most, the most magnificent facility in which I have ever put a fight. This arena, stadium is really something really special.

THE BOXING TRUTH: You know, a lot of the hard core fight fans are scratching their heads thinking of why this fight was made being that Clottey is such a dangerous opponent. How did you see this fight playing out, being that both guys are under the top ranked banner?

Bob Arum: Well, you know, Clottey is a dangerous opponent. Miguel Cotto was a dangerous opponent. If they’re not dangerous opponents who the hell wants to layout hard earned money to buy the pay-per-view? You know, I have an obligation to put together the best possible fight and that means a competitive fight. People don’t want to pay pay-per-view money, paid money for pay-per-view if the fight is not competitive, if it’s just an exhibition. And so there for we look, I thought Yuri Foreman against Pacquiao would be a compelling fight but Manny said that he was too tall. And so we looked around for the best possible welterweight that we could find that wasn’t engaged and that was Joshua Clottey. And I asked Manny would he fight him and he said yes, and so the fight was made.

THE BOXING TRUTH: Bob its funny a lot of people forget that you pretty much developed Floyd Mayweather as a fighter, you know he went on to do different things promotionally but you’re the one that developed his career. You have any inkling of who might, who Floyd Mayweather might be fighting next?

Bob Arum: Who Floyd Mayweather might be fighting next is up to Floyd Mayweather and his management completely. Floyd Mayweather, I see in my rear view mirror. I’m unconcerned with Floyd Mayweather and you know, please let him fight whomever he wants and if the public is interested in his fight they’ll buy and if they are not interested they won’t.

THE BOXING TRUTH: There’s going to be about 40,000 seats configured for this event. One thing we have heard as well Mr. Arum is that Antonio Margarito, if and when he gets reinstated by the California Athletic Commission, we might see the return of Margarito on that card.

Bob Arum: NO

THE BOXING TRUTH: Do you have something to say about that?

Bob Arum: Yeah, I think that’s a little incorrect. Under the rules of the ABC, Association of Boxing Commissioners, after the one-year has expired he can apply for license in any state. And he will apply for a license in Texas. So he doesn’t have to come back to California.

THE BOXING TRUTH: Any idea who he might be fighting on that event?

Bob Arum: Yeah, Bruce Trampler has tentatively picked out an opponent but I don’t, I don’t remember his name. It’s a pretty good fighter. Remember Antonio will have been off for over a year so he is not ready to go in for a kill. But this is a very competitive guy.

THE BOXING TRUTH: You know before the whole fiasco took place last January with the wraps and everything Antonio Maragrito was reaching a new level of stardom. Seeing that the unfortunate events of January 2009 have already taken place, are you concerned that his popularity and following taking hit? Or do you think that his very strong Mexican and Mexican American fan base will still be there to support him?

Bob Arum: Well you know, to say that it hasn’t taken somewhat of a hit is, would be fallacious. Of course it has taken a hit. I think though, that his fans and the boxing fans what to see him redeem himself. They want to see him come back and shed the trainer, who apparently was responsible for this happening. And you know, he is a terrific fighter, he’s an action fighter. And I think he will regain his popularity. But to say that it hasn’t taken a hit, you know, Mexican American boxing fans are not different from everybody. They were concerned about what happened with these hand wraps prior to the Mosley fight.

THE BOXING TRUTH: You know you being in boxing how many decades, what are your thought on some of the people within the public stating that they believe Manny is on a substance based on his rise within the weight classes. A lot of people are throwing that out there. How can you go ahead and explain Manny’s effectiveness while rising so quickly through the weight classes from 130 to 147?

Bob Arum: Well if you look at Floyd Mayweather, he’s risen the same way except he is going up higher. Manny hasn’t gone up a lot in weight. You know, he hasn’t gone up more than the likes of Roberto Duran did, I mean there’s nothing different now. You know, when he went, he was having trouble making 130 pounds and he complained about it. So I put him in on a 135 pounds with David Diaz and he was comfortable with that weight. And then when he fought De La Hoya, he came into the ring at I think 142 or something like that. But he ate breakfast and lunch before the weigh in. And then when he had to come in at 140 against Ricky Hatton he came in at 138. And then he came in at 144 I think for Cotto, he ate breakfast and lunch. So he hasn’t gone up in weight really appreciably since he fought David Diaz. Just a handful of pounds. People have vivid and unbelievable imagination. You know he’s fighting bigger but he is not going up in weight appreciably when he fights them. Just like all them in the past, like Henry Armstrong and Barney Ross and those guys. Fought in higher weight categories and really didn’t put on much weight themselves. I mean Manny Pacquiao if he had a fight tomorrow, a kid like Bradley who he’ll probably end up fighting down the road, he’ll fight him at a 140 pounds, easy. Easy, he’ll make 140 with out any problems.

THE BOXING TRUTH: Let me ask you this Bob, because it’s something that runs across my mind with so much mud slinging on the Internet towards Pacquiao and the performance enhancing drugs. During the last week there was talk of Floyd Mayweather possibly using a numbing agent on his hands or you know something of that nature to keep his brittle hands from feeling the pain and throwing punches inside the ring. Do you think that’s just the Internet being the Internet. How do you feel about those accusations being thrown at Mayweather now?

Bob Arum: I have no idea in truth. In truth I have no idea. That’s what we have boxing commissions for, to regulate all of this stuff. Not fighters to argue about it contractually, not fighters to make accusations about other fighters or promoters to make accusations about fighters. It’s these matters are in the purview of the applicable athletic commission. I read that article that he is talking about…I never heard of this alleged drug that Mayweather supposedly used. I don’t know anything about it. But people involved in these athletic commissions do, and they’re the ones that supervise it. Not you, not me and certainly not the fighters.

THE BOXING TRUTH: You know, taking a little bit about the boxing commission and you know, how this whole negotiation with Mayweather went down. You know a lot of people think he is trying to override the commission when it comes to setting these precedence for a fight to take place. You know, we had a caller on earlier on in the show that had questions regarding you know Manny acting out in that sort of controlled fashion where he wants everyone to bend to his rules. But he had questions about Manny setting fights at catch weights. Will there be catch weight fight from this point forward in Pacquiao’s fights above a 140 pounds?

Bob Arum: My thought is that there is nothing with a catch weight as long as it’s spelled out, and as long as fighters honor it. Mayweather had a catch weight fight with Marquez at 144 pounds. Well you know, for the Cotto fight we had a catch weight, I think a 145 and for Clottey there’s no catch weight. But there’s nothing wrong with catch weights as long as people adhere to the rules. You know boxing commissions don’t have control over the weight that fighters agree to fight. That’s totally different. And that’s purview of their regulations. Unless a fighter has signed a contract at a particular weight and comes in over weight.

(Click here to see The Boxing Truth's Ricardo Lois ask the fans about their reaction to Pacquiao-Mayweather falling apart!)

THE BOXING TRUTH: Let me ask you this Bob as we discuss more than Pacquiao and Mayweather, and there is a lot of great fights out there. And I’m kind of cheap and I hate paying those $39 for the Latin Fury pay-per-views, I’ll be the first to tell you. I hate shelling out $40 to watch those pay-per-views but I’ll shell out the $39 if you can make Humberto Soto verses Edgar Valero. That’s a fight that a lot of hard-core fight fans want to see. Is that something that you might be able to deliver us in 2010?

Bob Arum: Absolutely. The problem we have now and hopefully we’ll get it solved. And they tell me that the problem will be solved is that Valero when he visited Las Vegas for the Hatton – Pacquiao fight on a visa and was picked up for a DUI. And on the basis for that he went back to Venezuela and now he is being denied a visa until he goes to rehab, which apparently he has done, gets a certificate, etcetera and then the consol will give him a visa. If he gets a visa and comes into the United States when that fight can do some real money. Nothing would delight me more than to make that fight. I know that both fighters want to fight each other.

THE BOXING TRUTH: This past week we have heard third and forth hand as to exactly what took place during the mediations and how the fight fell apart on the table. We would like to get it first hand from you Bob Arum exactly how the mediation went and exactly what happened for the fight to not take place between Mayweather and Pacquiao.

Bob Arum: Well that’s, that’s one thing I can’t tell ya. I cannot tell you because there’s…in these mediations there is a proviso of confidentiality. And until the mediator absolves both parties of the confidentiality I can’t say what happened. I would love to do it. But I can’t. So hopefully the mediator down the road will say okay this is over now everybody has leaked this and leaked that and now you can say what you want about what happened. But right now I can’t do that.

THE BOXING TRUTH: You’re going to have Steve Luevano coming back into that ring. You’re going to have a big event out there in New York city with the Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, a lot of the exciting Latin fighters. Tell us a little bit about that event.

Bob Arum: Oh I am very excited about it. Lopez is fighting Luevano for the featherweight title and then Gamboa fights Mtagwa who gave Lopez such a tough time a number of months ago. And that fight I’m happy to say, you don’t have to go to your packet for any extra money because it’ll be televised live on HBO.

THE BOXING TRUTH: That is a wonderful card. Is your vision to put Lopez in with Gamboa later on or are you going to give Juan Manuel Lopez to shut up Celestino Caballero because that’s another fight Latino fight fans, hard-core fight fans are looking at Caballero verses Lopez. Which one of those fights do you think will come into fruition Lopez Caballero or Lopez Gamboa.

Bob Arum: Well you know all of those fights are great fights. And we’ll have to see coming off this one. Or Gamboa – Caballero that could be a good fight. So there’s a lot of mixes and matches, a lot of good fighters in these weight divisions. And eventually they’re all going to fight each other. Absolutely, I agree with you. What order that will be you know, I could see. We don’t promote Caballero but he’s supposedly a good fighter but we promote Lopez and we promote Gamboa. So you know, look neither guy is a cinch to beat their opponents. Lopez is no cinch against Lueveno. Lueveno got a hell of a shot to be him. And also Mtagwa gave Lopez a hell of a fight and he’s fighting Gamboa and who knows how that one comes out. So patience, patience, all of these guys will end up fighting each other.

THE BOXING TRUTH: Ah, just don’t make me pay $40 Bob. I don’t like shelling out man.

Bob Arum: But you’re not paying January 23, its on HBO you’re not paying anything. That’s pretty good. I get a little credit there right?

THE BOXING TRUTH: Kelly Pavlik had a great performance in December and an exciting fight. I think that he showed that he is still on top of his game. Everybody was looking forward to the Paul Williams bout. Is that a fight that is on the table right now? Or are you looking for other options for Kelly Pavlik?

Bob Arum: Well we are looking for other options. It looks like the Kelly Pavlik vs. Williams fight is impossible to make. You know, there were contracts in place, they were signed and Kelly because of the hand problem wasn’t able to fulfill the contract. So those contracts expired. But we offered them in good faith that we would go ahead with that fight if they just initialed the contract and made it applicable for March or April, which they refused to do. So obviously that fight is off the table. Kelly is looking at Sergio Martinez as a possible opponent also a unification match with Felix Stern. I know that Kelly would be willing to go to Germany to fight Sturm.

THE BOXING TRUTH: Let me ask you one more thing because I like everybody to have an opportunity to get things off their chest and clear the air. Another bombshell this Friday on ESPN Friday Night Fights the biggest sports network in the United States a big boxing outlet. And Teddy Atlas comes and says that someone from Manny Pacquiao’s camp said that someone in Pacquiao’s camp had gotten in contact with Mayweather’s camping asking what would happen if Pacquiao would have a positive drug test, would they keep it under wraps. What went through your mind when you see this unfolding on ESPN or when it got back to your desk?

Bob Arum: Well you know, I’m surprised Teddy Atlas making a wild statement like that without having at least seen the email. No such emails exists, no body would send a stupid email like that. No body even thought of that. That was misinformation spread, I think v. Mayweather camp, I think, I don’t know. But certainly no such email exists and no body in on our side would be stupid enough to send an email like that. So that’s one of these stories, you know so much of this reminds me of McCarthyism. Accuse, accuse without any evidence. “I hold here in my hand…”you’re too young to know this. “I hold here in my hand the names of 90 people in the State Department who are communist”. Same shit.

THE BOXING TRUTH: There you had it. Bob Arum, head honcho over at Top Rank.
Bob Arum: Go Cowboys! Win the Super Bowl so we can really show Pacquiao and Clottey at the Super Bowl.

THE BOXING TRUTH: I thought you were a Giants fan man.

Bob Arum: You know I called…listen I’m an honorable guy. This is the truth I actually called my friend Steve Tisch who is the chairman of the Giants and he gave me dispensation, one to do this fight in Cowboy stadium and two now that the Giants are out of the playoffs to root for the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl.


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