The downtime seems to be wearing well on the all-time all-star promoter Bob Arum, who is holed up in his Los Angeles pad, and, actually, is functioning somewhat you like and me, if we’re fortunate.
While brave souls tend to those stricken by coronavirus in hospitals coast to coast, fortunate sons and daughters find themselves staying inside, and, perhaps, fighting boredom more than anything else. Many folks are burning up time by putting their subscriptions a workout. Like Arum — he had Hulu, but never used it until now.
Bad Left Hook checked in with the 88-year-old deal-maker, who told us one thing he’s learned from this outbreak period is he’s happy he didn’t retire. So much unstructured time doesn’t much do a brain and body good.
“I’ve been doing a lot of reading, I keep busy, and before ya know it, it’s night,” Arum says. “You binge on Netflix, Hulu, channels like that, not sports, not reruns.”
I recommended “Hunters,” the Al Pacino-topped Amazon Prime show which has Nazi hunters wasting dirtbags in 1977 New York. Did Arum try it?
“‘Hunters,’ absolutely. It was a little over the top, but Pacino was excellent,” he said.
He’s exercising some, and spending time on the phone with old friends. He’s been chatting with the Brit fight game lifer Frank Warren a bunch.
“Frank’s in a little country house, outside London. When he gets crazy, he calls me, we talk nonsense.”
OK, and can he give up a recommendation, a show he’s found that stood out as a decent use of time?
“Yes, one on Hulu,” Arum said. “It’s called ‘In the Line of Duty,’ it’s unbelievable.” The show is a British police procedural which kicked off in 2012 and has run five seasons.
“Also on Hulu, I never watched it before, the Hillary documentary, that’s fantastic.” That is a 2020 release, running as four parts on the streaming service.
And, yes, he is indeed staying on top of Top Rank business. Arum is paying close attention to what Adam Silver and the NBA are planning, on how to re-start the season when it’s safe to do so.
Top Rank won’t run fights the remainder of March and April, but Arum is thinking maybe May they can start running events, sans spectators.
“We’re hoping to rescue May,” the Brooklyn-born businessman shared.
The next scrap for Scottish fighter Josh Taylor against Apinun Khongsong has been postponed from its May 2 date in Glasgow.
“But I hope the [Jose] Ramirez-[Viktor] Postol fight can be saved,” he said, referencing the May 9 clash pitting the Cali 140 champ versus the Ukrainian vet.
When some of these fights that have been postponed get rescheduled is one issue; also, where will they land? Really too early to say, Arum told me.
Like that May 30 mega-anticipated clash between Vasiliy Lomachenko (WBA and WBO titleholder), the lightweight ace, against the cocky upstart Teofimo Lopez (IBF titleholder). Arum wanted it in New York, it was set to be announced for Madison Square Garden, it would have sold out the big room.
Then coronavirus advanced in America and started spreading the bad news, and so the announcement and ticket sales were not put in place.
“I’m not gonna make predictions, it’s based on when the virus is under control. There’s no reset date, we have to see how things play out,” Arum said. Maybe June, maybe July, and he still likes New York as the site for that one.
Arum loves the leadership Adam Silver is giving the NBA, and he’s eyes wide open that the Knicks have dibs on the home arena, and the NBA will be looking to jam in a bunch of missed games, though it’s seeming like smart people in high places are not assuming we should resume activities that feature 20,000 people enclosed in a small-ish space to watch entertainment too soon. It it looks like the NBA might go right to a play-in tourney and playoffs to take place in Las Vegas. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said he think games in front of no spectators could be the wisest course. So, basically, Arum will be patient, see how all this plays out.
He will listen to press briefings that dismay him, probably find a couple more winners on Hulu, and smash through some more books.
“I’m 88, I’ve gone through a lot. This is my second week of self-isolation with the wife, and this just shows me how smart it was not to retire,” Arum said.
“Imagine doing this, for a long time, years? I couldn’t do it. Will good things come out of this? I just don’t know, and even though I’ve been around more than most, I’ve never seen anything like this. Will good come out of this? That’s aspirational. I just don’t know.”
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