Monday, June 24, 2024  |


Top Rank’s Bob Arum sheds more light on return to live action for boxing

Bearded Bob Arum talking to Joe Tess, on ESPN. He sees not needing to shave as a benefit of the pandemic.
Fighters Network

Self quarantine seems to be agreeing with all-time all-star promoter Bob Arum, who has grown out some beard action, and it suits him well.

The Top Rank founder spoke to Joe Tessitore of ESPN, before the Worldwide Leader re-played the Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Cotto fight, from 2009, on Saturday evening.

So, Arum was asked, when might live fights get cooking again?

Bob Arum is the leading promoter in boxing.

Mikey Williams pre coronavirus era snapped this pic of Bob Arum, the 88 year old leader in the boxing promotional sphere. He’s seeking clarity on when to return with live action.

“We hope to be operational some time in June, we’re working with commissions in Nevada, California, and in Texas,” the 88 year old deal-maker told Tess. The events will be fan free, no patrons on site. He will want testing galore, that’s corner-men, announcers, judges, everyone ideally will be tested, he stated.

“Then hopefully we can do two or three boxing events each week,” he said.

And what sort of fights will we see? “Every fight will be a good fight, every fight will be competitive,” Arum continued. “Some will be bigger names than the other,” he said, and all will be on-ESPN veterans.

Ok, but a Vasiliy Lomachenko, what about him? “Will we be able to get Loma back into the country in a short period of time, I don’t know the answer to that,” Arum said, noting that the lightweight craftsman is with family in Ukraine.

More unknowns–what about that third Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder bout? “That’s a wait and see, that fight, I have to be honest, Joe,” the promoter said. Fury, like Wilder, is over-seas. When would travel be less restricted? That’s an issue, and second, “you have to do that fight with a live gate.”

The state of the game mirrors the world…it is in flux.

The heavyweight sequel, in February, did $17 million at the gate, at the MGM, Arum informed Tessitore. “That was a significant portion of the revenue that paid the fighters, paid the costs, and so forth. How do you replace that? And the answer is, you can’t,” he finished.

Thoughts from that hit with Tess: the beard suits Arum. I don’t remember seeing him with one before. Maybe it stays PC (post coronavirus)…

Also,  if some entity wanted to match the lost gate take from the heavyweight tango, then you could do a big one like the third Fury vs Wilder bout sooner rather than later; but more likely is that marquee and mega marquee fights get put off until there is more clarity, in regard to the virus.

Like, if someone gets infected, and battles it off, what level of immunity do they possess? It’s hard for us, in NY, for example, to concieve of mass gatherings coming back, but people in places not as touched by coronavirus are maybe more eager to give it a shot.

MLB bigs are discussing ways to do the 2020 season–maybe have the 30 MLB teams playing games in Arizona, using spring training sites and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home stadium, Chase Field. Players, coaches and some needed team personnel would sequester locally. Also being discussed: teams going to their spring training homes in Florida and Arizona and playing games in those states only. There’d be re-set divisions, and games played with no fans in attendance, in both proposed scenarios.

The National Football League tried to be “normal” and do a draft, but no, NFL movers and shakers haven’t conceived how to plan for the new season with the virus still marauding the world over. The MVP of Super Bowl 50, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, has tested positive and seems to be progressing well along the road to kicking it. But his infection helps drive home that the virus doesn’t only target oldsters and people with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible.

The NFL takes in more money of any sports league in America, so eyes are on them, of course, on their handling of the upcoming season. Football titans have been surprised at surges in media/social media traffic of fanatics following free agency moves and the draft unfolding. Clearly, regular Joes and Janes are eager for new distractions, apparaently having exhausted the Netflix library. But so far, we’ve not seen any indication that commission Roger Goodell is feeling like the show will go on, inside stadiums packed with beer swilling hardcores spewing spittle four rows below as they root, root, root for the home team.

Many of you know that UFC day to day driver Dana White is going forward with UFC 249, on May 9, and he has no shortage of athletes seeking a spot on the Florida event. His plan to advance the bold cause of being first out of the gate in the sports world to rocket out of quarantine and make a push to rebound the nations’ economic fortunes hit a snag when ESPN and Disney told him to slow his roll.

He’s found a partner, in Florida, led by the Governor, Ron DeSantis, who seems to be a favorite of President Trump. White has taken cues from WWE bossman Vince McMahon, who got the OK to hold TV tapings in Florida, though no fans are allowed to watch the sports entertainment. And White has of late held many card close to his chest, this time not over-promising with specifics that later don’t play out as reality. (Though it could be noted, like Trump, he’s prone to tossing out tantalizing future possibilities, like starting his own boxing arm, and stringing the interested along for excessive spells. See Trump: the Wall.)

Back to boxing…Arum has said for more than a month that he’d need and want to have testing galore available for all persons involved in comeback events. A massive testing push is being called for by many, many public health experts, though federal officials publicly haven’t showed the same committment to that pre-condition for the attempt to hit the re-start button on the economy.

In Michigan, a story dropped which shared the sad tale of a health care worker turned down four times for a test by her employer, a hospital where she’d worked for 31 years. Her cough progressed to a fever and she succumbed to COVID-19. What is the right thing to do, maybe the most eternal of all questions for human beings, that is playing out every day, everywhere, outside and inside our sphere.

Hey, wouldn’t that be something–boxing toward the head of the pack among institutions in self directed standards for desired wellness of participants and support staff?