Like Don King from about 1975 to about 1999, Bob Arum has controlled a lion's share of boxing's power and influence. If last night's tragic robbery of his most high profile, highly influential, and most celebrated fighter, perhaps the most celebrated fighter Bob Arum has ever promoted (Don't freak out, this can be debated amongst fans okay?) didn't give boxing fans both serious and casual a vomit inducing reaction, perhaps the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez back in November of 2011 coupled with last night's bewildered outcome will.
Contrary to popular belief I actually think this helps boxing in the long run. And despite this righteous indignation bellowing from the four corners of the sports world, a rematch is likely, and those same voices calling for justice, with pitch fork in hand will certainly shell out the 60 or so dollars to watch said rematch. If not they will likely find a place to watch the fight for free; point is they will watch, despite this venture into manufactured outrage. Seriously I've read and heard more played up outrage over this fight than in a Congressional hearing. And I like how people are saying this wouldn't happen in mma when not only has this happened in mma but mma judges an boxing judges are the same people, because boxing judges score mma fights; there are no such thing as "mma judges" and "boxing judges".
Alas I feel for the boxing fan and I don't feel for them. You expected a good fight with no controversy but if you know boxing you know controversy to boxing is like snot on tissues. I'm more stunned by the reaction of the outcome than by the outcome itself.
Although if you're so disgusted and outraged then don't watch another big fight ever again. People are already saying that, of course they said they wouldn't watch another Mayweather fight after he sucker punched Victor Ortiz when they fought last September. I would guess that Mayweather's fight with Cotto outsold the Pacquiao/Bradley fight. Not only that people were praising Floyd for his performance and said the fight was awesome. I would promise you those same folks who said they wouldn't watch another Mayweather fight because of what he did to Victor Ortiz bought the his may 5th fight against Miguel Cotto.
But this isn't relegated to boxing. MMA fans and fighters licked their chops at an opportunity to declare this outcome as the very reason why boxing is dying. Yet how many of those mma fighters and personalities can sell over a million PPV buys? I mean after all according to Jens Pulver UFC is exploding and boxing is dying because of last night and similar outcomes. And yet even when the UFC broadcasts a free show on a major network like Fox, more people pay for the boxing event held on the same night than watch the free UFC show on a channel everyone in this country not living under a rock has in their channel line up.
Strikeforce bantamweight champ and current mma "it" girl Ronda Rousey tweeted that she'll never pay for a boxing match again. Well, would anyone pay to watch her fight on PPV much less pay for a subscription to watch her fight on Showtime?
These are overreactions from people who go into these things with a fixed assumption and according to said assumption reaction accordingly. I'm not calling for a Congressional hearing nor am I on the bandwagon suggesting that this is the final nail in boxing's coffin and the mma will rule all.
But I will say this, the Bob Arum era can't end fast enough. My criticism of Bob has always been more substance and less personal snide comments because Bob has truly damaged this sport in the last few years. Let's ignore his overall impact as a promoter because to argue his full body of work as a net negative is to argue the downside of bathing. Bob Arum like Don King brought us great moments in boxing but like Don King Bob Arum is becoming a very large and polarizing yoke around the neck of boxing.
Let's be honest, god bless Golden Boy and I know the word "inept" doesn't begin to scratch the surface with that crack team at time, because frankly they act as though they can't peel an orange without getting a headache with some of the stuff they've miffed, including their hand in the Lamont Peterson drug testing scandal. But deep down you know Oscar De La Hoya and company genuinely work hard to deliver the best product they can because I believe they're sincere when they say they want to put on the fights the fans want.
I don't know if we can say that about Bob Arum at this stage. Let's face it the man is 80 and his prize possession is near the end of his hall of fame career. Word is the Pac-Man's contract expires at the end of this year and maybe that had some impact, who knows. I do know that this is all Bob Arum knows and perhaps he's just in it for himself and it's that cut and dry. Shocking, that a boxing promoter, especially one who started promoting during the 70s and 80s would be in it for himself but that very well may be the case here.
So if Arum is basically mailing it in and only focused on making as much money as possible we're going to see less than stellar results until he finally hands over the reigns to the next guy in line. So while we may scoff at what happened last night know that it tends to a lot darker inside the tunnel than outside where the light is shining. I'm not wishing anything bad on Mr. Arum, I'm just wishing that he leave the sport. Is that too much to ask?