In the aftermath of the hoopla surrounding the recent Wilder-Fury 2 press conference, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum sat down with some media members to discuss his thoughts on the presser and how this promotion could prove beneficial to making more cross-promotional fights.
Arum on the animated Wilder-Fury 2 press conference:
“The first part was completely lost. They’re talking above each other, it doesn’t make good television, it’s sort of unseemly. Once the trainers got up there and they started talking sense, I think that helped.
“The initial face off was good but, you know, fuck, to do another face off you’re just courting danger!”
On successfully working with Al Haymon’s PBC outfit to put on this fight thus far, and if that success might translate into making some other big fights like Terence Crawford and Errol Spence:
“I think so. I don’t know for sure but obviously when two promotional entities do an event and they work collegiality and the event is a success, the tendency is to replicate it in other ways. So, yeah, I would think so. I don’t know why not.
“Obviously any time you can get two networks like ESPN and FOX to work to get — I mean that’s unbelievable for the sport. People are talking about this fight all over the country and one of the big topics is how ESPN and FOX are promoting it.
“Look, let me tell you something. When I was watching the Super Bowl in a friend’s party where they had 80 people and they played that first commercial in the Super Bowl, everybody was looking at me. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it. I mean, I’ve been around since the first Super Bowl, there’s never been a commercial for a boxing match in any Super Bowl, ever!”
On if he sees the kind of energy behind this fight as being similar to other huge boxing events like De La Hoya-Mayweather or Mayweather-Pacquiao:
“It’s hard to say because this fight started out at a huge level, particularly when FOX and ESPN jumped in from the get-go.
“But yeah, obviously on fight week you find a tremendous groundswell. You know it from people calling up for tickets, for people telling you they’re gonna watch it on this or that PPV. So yeah, absolutely.
“I really believe that when I found out early on — before we even had the announcement — of how FOX and ESPN were gonna do this, that’s why I predicted two million (PPV buys). Now to predict two million, if this was back in the ol’ HBO and Showtime days, that would’ve been crazy. But because of (ESPN and FOX) I always thought we had a shot to equal or exceed two million buys and I’m now more than ever confident.”
On if there’s been any talk between him and PBC about doing other fights while co-promoting this one:
“No because the truth is that it’s been the line people of PBC and Top Rank — it’s like Todd duBoef handled all of those logistics for us with Brad Jacobs, and Bruce Binkow for PBC. And really, other than a call here and there, just social, there’s been no communication with Al (Haymon), Al and myself. I mean, they clear everything with Al, but the people we’ve dealt with at PBC are the ones who’ve been handling the television with us, the foreign television — first class...everybody has contributed and worked hard on it.”
On why Wilder-Fury has been relatively easy to put together as a co-promotion while other big cross-promotional fights aren’t being made:
“We had one experience, let’s be honest about it. There’s been one experience which was the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, and that was a big financial success, but emotionally and everything, was an absolute disaster. Absolute! You cannot believe.
“I’d go home at night with knots in my stomach, they’d drive me crazy. And I guess maybe we drove them crazy. So, I mean, it was horrible. So when we made this deal I said ‘Al, are we gonna have the problem we had last time?’ He said ‘I promise you, you won’t.’ And he lived up to his promise. Everything was very, very smooth in this one between the two companies.
“So now, if this is the success we hope it will be, then (Al’s) a businessman, I’m a businessman, and then we say ‘Hey, let’s do it! Where else can we do a big promotion where FOX and ESPN come together. And, you know, the one that’s on everybody’s mind is Spence and Crawford.
“I think it’s been relatively easy for FOX and ESPN to work together and having them work together so well sent a lesson and a message to promoters who have been used to dealing in the era of Showtime and HBO where that wasn’t possible.”