The boxing promotion business has historically been a vibrant and oft wild and wooly scene. In recent years, it hasn’t been as kooky as it had been in, say, the 80s, when Don King was the kingpin, the OG who juggled his empire while fending off repeated attacks from the Feds, who repeatedly sought to take him down. He’d fend off that while jousting with Bob Arum, and those two, both with a gift of gab, provided memorable skirmishes in the 70s, 80s, and into the 90s.
They reacquainted and had a few switchblade scraps in the 2000s, too.
They’ve chilled of late, with King being a part-time practitioner, but Arum is as feisty as ever. He doesn’t shy away from a fight and in fact, has been giving as good as he’s been getting when engaging in warring wordplay with UFC honcho Dana White.
We maybe can expect more of that action, being that White, the Boston-bred Las Vegas resident who runs UFC, Arum would say, arguably, along some of the same lines as King ran his boxing arm in the 80s, is seemingly looking to branch out. The MMA bossman wants to double dip, and promote boxing.
Seems like his time spent cross-promoting the Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather match whet his whistle, got him craving more of the old school combat sport action. Or maybe it’s because, as Arum asserts, White is seeing some downturn trends in UFC and is looking to add a revenue stream.
Regardless, the 48-year-old MMA empire builder is sounding like he’s beyond the talking/flirting stage, and will be hopping into the arena with OGs Arum and King and the new breed...it's a shark filled pool, actually, with Arum, King, Oscar De La Hoya, Eddie Hearn and company, which most definitely includes Al Haymon, still a power player even though his PBC has receded in visibility. From a press perspective, I think that scenario would be welcomed, in that the trash talk among promoters would give us more to chatter about.
“No, no, no, I’m not leaving the UFC. I’m getting into boxing with [WME/IMG head] Ari [Emanuel] and the UFC will be doing boxing, too. “It’s still early. We’re still working on it. I’ve got to get my [stuff] together, but I’m getting into boxing, man. It’s coming…I feel like I can do it better than everyone else. I love the sport," White said.
He labeled his entry into boxing as being a “100 percent” certainty.
My three cents: This strikes me as a probably net positive for the sport. From my angle, for media, White is like King, and Arum, often the most compelling person in the room, whatever room he’s in.
So, more of that wouldn’t be unwelcome. Wouldn’t this also open up more opportunities for fighters? One would think so.
And offer more televised content, being that White is now an old hand at setting up carriage deals.
Now, for him personally, could this be a case of him biting off too big a piece of steak, while other mean dogs are looking to keep market share, and grab bites? It could…
Then, the sharks swim close...
White could conceivably be spreading himself too thin, over-working himself, and heading to burnout. Or not..he seems to be built with a crazy energy reservoir, so maybe he could handle the added duties.
Me, I will be over here, with my popcorn, ready to cover it.
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