Bob Arum hit NYC to bang the drums, along with his “pal” Don King for the Saturday showdown between Arum’s guy, Jose Ramirez, and King’s guy, Amir Imam.
The OGs stole the show at the Thursday press conference at Madison Square Garden, while they spoke a bit about the challenge for the WBC’s 140 pound strap. Scroll down for quotes from the presser, which featured no real hijinks involving any of the fighters, but did feature good verbal sparring between Arum and King, both 86, and both still sharp and moderately feisty.
Arum had the line of the day, when he addressed two King fighters that Don brought with him, who are not, in fact, fighting on this Top Rank card. Rafael Mensah, from Ghana, and super middleweight Isaac Ekpo, from Nigeria.
“I want to welcome you here. Are your countries shithole countries?”
“No,” came the response from the King boxers.
“No, of course not,” said Arum. “Thank you, I rest my case.”
King had to know he’d been beaten to the punch then.
Regarding some other issues, Arum said it’s status quo on the Manny Pacquiao front. He shot down the rumor floating around that Manny will be promoting his next bout, against foe TBD, himself.
“Manny is still contracted to Top Rank, not as Colonel, but as a fighter,” Arum told me.
And was he not miffed that it had been discussed that he could fight on a card with Terence Crawford?
“Everything’s fine,” Arum insisted. “We’re hoping to get money from Malaysia, and if it comes, and he does fight, we will be there to do what is necessary, handling the TV, the logistics, etc. But I don’t know the Malaysian people, Manny’s people do.”
And that Crawford vs Horn bout, has that date been re-set?
“We’ve had the best hand doctors see Terence, and Terence is coming to New York on Friday. We will sit with him and ESPN and the MGM and figure it out. (The delay) will be short term rather than long term, I think.”
Arum didn’t want to delve into the news that ESPN asked for and received more TR dates and has made clear that boxing content will be a building block in their OTT push.
“I will let (new ESPN boss) Jimmy Pitaro and them explain it, if it comes from me I’ll make a dozen mistakes.”
We touched on Loma vs Linares, and Arum finished up as expected, plugging the MSG show. I told Arum I think Loma is a special talent and Linares isn’t as special. What match for Loma excites you, and makes you think, really, it’s a 50-50 fight…and you want to make?
“The big fight I want to do is Loma versus Anthony Joshua, that’s a 50-50 fight! Mike, the show Saturday is a classic, Mick Conlan and all the Irish and the Puerto Ricans, Ramirez is a great kid, it will be a helluva show.”
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