The once bitter rivalry between promoters Bob Arum and Don King isn’t what it once used to be, but the two are still doing their thing long after most would think possible. In this sit-down interview with Mark Kriegel, the promoters share their thoughts about working together for tomorrow night’s WBC title fight featuring Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam.
Arum and King on if they’re surprised to still be kicking around at 86-years-old:
“Yeah, pretty surprised!” said Arum. “I mean that’s pretty good longevity, I think.”
“Well I never thought I’d get past 50 because I’ve been defiant all my life,” King added. “So was fighting the mob, fighting the courts, naturally, you know what I mean. So there’s always been something that I would be able to stand up and fight the system. So I am really, really pleased God has blessed me with these extra years.”
On if they’d ever think they be co-promoting a card together at this point in their lives:
“The truth is, as far as I’m concerned — and Don can speak for himself — for me one year goes into the other and you just keep doing it if God gives you the ability to keep on piling up numbers, you just keep piling up the numbers. That’s how I look at it,” Arum said.
“Well I that it’s just good and I’m very proud to have Bob because whatever people think, he was antagonistic, I wouldn’t know how good I am if I didn’t have Bob as an antagonist and as a protagonist, you know?
On if they felt they needed each other to be where they are today:
“Absolutely,” King said.
“I needed Don!” Arum interjected. “It was great. You know, without great competition, and without interesting competition, people lose interest.”
On being more ruthless towards each other than ‘interesting’:
“But that made it good!” Arum responded.
“Because it was authentic,” King added. “It wasn’t like it was something made-up and played-up like your premeditated planning and something that you can deal with, you know what I mean? What you see is what you get...and the recipients are the people that’s with us. Just like right now, when my guy knocks out his guy on Saturday we can go get Pacquiao. It’s inevitable, he has what I want, we put aside the personal [feelings]...”