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Bob Arum candid on Victor Ortiz, Golden Boy and HBO

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum isn't hiding his feelings of displeasure with HBO, or his feelings on Victor Ortiz quitting against Marcos Maidana last Saturday. (via <a href=""></a>)
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum isn't hiding his feelings of displeasure with HBO, or his feelings on Victor Ortiz quitting against Marcos Maidana last Saturday. (via

In what I can only hope isn't the first series of grenades thrown to start a new cold war between the two biggest promotional firms in boxing, Top Rank chief Bob Arum spoke very candidly to reporters recently about his rival promotion, Golden Boy, its fallen prospect Victor Ortiz, and the network he's been displeased by of late, HBO.

Sometimes I find myself disagreeing with Mr. Arum quite completely. This is not one of those times.

On HBO guaranteeing Golden Boy dates:

"[HBO] gave their dates to one promoter, whose stable has now been wiped out. And all the good fighters are fighting, fortunately at this point in time, for us at Top Rank. And they would love to give us dates but they can't this year, and that's wrong. ... I can't blame Golden Boy for grabbing those dates, but it shows that it wasn't the wisest thing for [HBO] to do."

"Look at the fighters we have. We have Valero. We have Gamboa. We have Lopez. We have Vanes. Just named one after another who could be in great fights. Instead [Golden Boy and HBO] are doing a retread like Juan Diaz fighting Paulie Malignaggi, two guys who lost their last fight fighting each other. If they want to do losers -- which is what I call that fight, The Losers -- let them do it, but that's sort of silly."

I think Arum is being a little harsh on Diaz-Malignaggi. Diaz is coming off of a great fight, and really never disappoints from a fan's standpoint. His fights are always entertaining, and there will always be a spot for that kind of fighter on TV. Malignaggi also didn't lose his last fight (but I know what Bob means, obviously), and let's not forget that Arum himself tried to put Malignaggi (a DiBella fighter) on his June 27 PPV before his own prospect, Mike Alvarado, pulled out of the fight. Arum's guy pulling out put Malignaggi on HBO on August 22.

But past that -- yeah, he's right. HBO shouldn't deal with Golden Boy at the expense of putting on superior fights, which frankly Top Rank really has. They've done a far better job of building young fighters, and truthfully they just have better young fighters. When you look at the Golden Boy stable, it is fairly decimated right now. This is not the days when they had Oscar, Shane, B-Hop and Barrera as their Big Four. Oscar's retired, Barrera's gone and washed-up anyway. Hopkins is a 44-year old part-time fighter who wants big money that he can't draw. A phenomenal fighter, yes, but the disaster that was the Pavlik-Hopkins PPV isn't going to help his bargaining cause, nor will his own ego. Mosley is stuck in no man's land right now. Past Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez, there isn't a whole lot there. And both of those guys are getting up there in years, too.

Oscar and Richard Schaefer have tried to keep pace, not by developing young talent so well, but lately by "stealing" it. Golden Boy snatched up James Kirkland from Gary Shaw, and now Kirkland's career is essentially over as he sits in jail on a gun charge. Ortiz was groomed to be Oscar Jr. -- but he's not. They grabbed Robert Guerrero this year, and he's been under fire since pulling himself out of a fight because of a cut in the second round against Daud Yordan.

They're working with Chris John, but his recent rematch with Rocky Juarez got scrapped. It's been a rough 2009 for Golden Boy. They work Stateside with both Ricky Hatton and David Haye, but neither are fighting right now and Hatton's stock took a massive hit in May.

Meanwhile, Top Rank boasts Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Kelly Pavlik, and a truckload of exciting young fighters. Whereas Golden Boy seemed to put their future eggs mostly into Ortiz's basket, Top Rank has them spread out. Lopez and Gamboa are arguably the two most exciting young fighters in the world, and Lopez is already making a case for himself as a top 10 pound-for-pound guy. No matter how you feel about any promoters on either side, I don't think there's much of a case to be made against Top Rank leading the way. It's very clear at this point.

On Victor Ortiz, former Top Rank fighter:

"We had a continuing profit participation with Ortiz, but the truth is and it's not after the fact: [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce Trampler always said that Ortiz had a lot of tools but he thought, based on what he had seen, that Ortiz lacked courage. That when the going got tough, Ortiz would quit and that's what he did there."

I assume this is pretty much the prevailing thought on Ortiz. I don't think anyone is too "OK" with the way he lost on Saturday. If you look at the tape, it appeared as though Shane Mosley and Oscar de la Hoya were both openly and supremely disappoiinted with Ortiz after the fight.

He also took a clear shot at Golden Boy's matchmaking:

"Ortiz is a good fighter, but you don't put Ortiz in there with an Argentine guy nobody's heard of, who is a good puncher, et cetera. You put him with a Lamont Peterson. If Peterson wins, then you got somebody going. Now they got a friggin' Argentine guy, who lost to Kotelnik, who is fighting Amir Khan and if he wins is going to end up fighting Dmitriy Salita. So that's the level, you aren't building anything."

Of course Arum would've liked Ortiz-Peterson. He would've gotten some money out of it. It's also widely-known that Ortiz was supposed to fight Kotelnik, who backed out to instead take a fight with Khan. So even "candid," the promoter's hat doesn't totally come off.

He'll be telling the truth tomorrow.

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