“Let’s talk now,” Bob Arum said, when I asked him late Wednesday night if he’d be up for talking some boxing on Thursday at some point.
“I’m flying to Philadelphia in the morning,” Arum explained. “Going to a wedding. Carl Moretti’s daughter. It should be good.”
This will be the first live wedding Arum has attended since the world turned on its side. Arum sounded amped to be taking part, and seeing the daughter of one of his top aides for Top Rank walk down the aisle.
Speaking of walking down the aisle, of having a union come to fruition: the third Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder battle is looming larger. October 9 is the date circled on all fight fans’ calendars, when we see if Wilder can shake off the traumatic memories of being battered by Fury in Feb. 2020.
I told Arum I’ve heard chatter that Fury has been putting off training. Some folks feel that this reset date, shifted after Fury tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the planned July 24 trilogy meeting, might be on shaky ground. That wouldn’t surprise me, being that we’ve seen this fourth COVID wave wreck so many plans.
“Tyson Fury’s sixth child was born with a problem, he was in intensive care,” Arum explained. “But everything’s great, he brought the baby home today in Manchester. He’s on track to train. (Sugarhill Steward), his trainer, arrives Friday. He’ll be training in Manchester, three to four weeks, then they’ll go to Las Vegas. He’s been keeping in shape, he was in great shape (when he left the US), and he’ll be fine.”
I asked Arum for some specifics on how exactly he ripped Fury a new orifice, when he learned the WBC titleholder got the virus. I was joking, mostly, because I figured the promoter would not put the humongous — literally and as an attraction in the Top Rank stable — pugilist on hard blast for being one and done with the vaccine.
“Don’t worry, it will be 100 percent,” Arum said, gracefully side-stepping what and how he interacted with Fury when news of the test dropped. He instead referred to the grotesque possibility that another Fury COVID positive would again screw up the planning for the heavyweight faceoff.
“I can’t make anybody do anything, but everybody coming into our gym now gets a rapid test, on a daily basis.”
Arum rolls with punches pretty damn well, and has taken COVID-related bad news for the sport in stride, seems to me. But have the latest setbacks and mayhem taken him aback?
“I was surprised this way: Teofimo (Lopez) and his father and his manager David McWater came to my house when (Teofimo) signed his new contract in the morning,” Arum said. “That night, it was announced Teofimo had COVID. But they were all wearing masks, and I was vaccinated.”
So the world keeps turning. We make the best of situations, and test our ability to roll with punches when fate throws a combo at us. Arum turns 90 on Dec. 8, still sticks, moves, slides, slips and ducks with vigor. On Friday night, I bet he will be tapping his feet, maybe even boogeying a bit while flashing back to some time spent at Xenon before he left New York for the West Coast.
And Saturday, will he be tuning in to see how Manny Pacquiao fares against Yordenis Ugas?
“Nah,” he said, showing his offensive arsenal is still potent. “That’s not a pay-per-view fight!”