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Bob Arum: Boxing has clawed its way into mainstream, promoters must keep working together

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Bob Arum is riding high after Tyson Fury’s big win, and hopes we get more nights like this.

Tyson Fury v Otto Wallin - News Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

He’s coming off one of his grandest triumphs, and that’s saying something, being that he started in this biz in 1966.

Bob Arum has been putting together fights and banging his drums to attract attention for them since before The Beatles put out Sgt. Pepper’s.

And on Saturday, he did it again, as his guy Tyson Fury got the W, ensuring Arum’s bet on the massive Traveller paid off. And take a second to marvel at the fact that the Brooklyn born deal-maker is 88 years old.

OK, gushing preamble aside. Arum came on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast Tuesday and offered up the trademark wit, bite, bluster and blarney.

But of course, that Fury victory was Topic A; Arum said the quality and impact of the win was akin to what he was feeling the night George Foreman, age 45, beat WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Michael Moorer.

They prayed after Big George struck a blow for middle-aged men who wanted to have more exploits beyond dreaming about high school gridiron glory days. On Saturday, they sang, with Arum being the “basso profundo” to Fury as he butchered, er, mastered “American Pie.”

Arum continued, enthused still about the Fury win. He said that no, it wasn’t “bullshit” when he predicted that Fury would stop Wilder. “That’s what happened, we told everyone that’s what was gonna happen,” he said.

Yeah, you may have to sift through some promoter-speak from Bob, but by and large, his instincts are sharper than Liz Warren going at Michael Bloomberg.

“Jump on him and disarm him,” that’s how Bob put it, as he marveled at how Fury attacked the sniper in his nest, and blasted him out. He thought coming in that Fury’s stated game plan was savagely smart. He thought Fury could outbox Wilder, but he’d need to be too wide awake for the whole 36 minutes and that was riskier, Arum figured, than being the aggressor.

No numbers yet as to how they did, PPV wise. The digital buys were “yuuuuge,” Arum said, but he doesn’t know if perhaps that high number might take from the satellite or cable tallies.

What about No. 3? “It’s too early, the only thing I have to say is the ball is in Deontay Wilder’s court. If he wants the immediate rematch, that’s the provision, he gets the immediate rematch. We get 60%, they get 40%, the promotion will be the handled exactly the same way the last one was.”

Arum said the Wilder people are all honorable, they have 25 days to decide but he thinks it will be decided earlier than that.

And what about Plan B? Arum said a Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua fight would be not just the biggest ever UK fight, but maybe the biggest one ever, anywhere. Kubrat Pulev would be OK with a step-aside fee, he thinks.

“That’s all theoretical,” Arum said. Wilder has first dibs, and people are looking at the new Allegiant Stadium in Nevada, the home for the NFL Raiders.

He is on a high, but knows what goes up doesn’t always stay as high as you might think it should. “It’s all good, it’s all good. Everybody hopefully, all the promoters, whether it’s Al Haymon, Eddie Hearn, we’re gonna hopefully be cooperative here, and not blow the moment that boxing has clawed its way back into the mainstream.”

Listen the whole podcast here; Shannon Briggs talks about his upcoming bare knuckle fights, and his new cannabis venture.