Does Boxing Need Bob Arum?
The boxing community was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief recently when it was announced that the second attempt at Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations would be done privately.
Whether the fight was made or not, it was going to be nice to not hear the two sides sniping at each other until the deal got done.
Of course, you wouldn't expect a guy like Bob Arum to keep his word when it comes to something as difficult as shutting his mouth.
Now Arum has stated publicly that Top Rank and Pacquiao have put a deal on the table that all parties have agreed to. This is despite reports from ESPN.com and others that there are still unresolved issues.
A minor detail in Bob's world. If you have a chance to make Mayweather look like the guy holding up the fight, why let a little thing like the truth stop you?
Now on one hand, expecting any kind of tact or decorum from a boxing promoter is generally not the wisest policy. If anything, we should be more surprised by the concept that Golden Boy and Team Mayweather didn't break the agreement than the fact that Arum did.
It is worth asking then, is Arum any worse than any other promoter? Is he simply the most visible, and therefore the most easy to criticize? More importantly, is he good for the sport of boxing?
Bob's history of opening his mouth and promptly inserting his foot is well documented. Last year he engaged a reporter in the senseless Boxing vs. MMA debate, and proceeded to embarrass himself by calling MMA fighters "homosexuals" and implying that the sport's fans were racist.
What got lost in the controversy over these statements was a possibly legitimate beef that Arum has with the UFC, claiming he has inside knowledge that Dana White and company lie about their Pay-Per-View sales to perpetuate the myth that MMA is the more popular sport.
Of course, nobody cared about these claims after he had already gone on his homophobic rant. This is often the case, as Arum is undoubtedly a smart guy, but his intelligent remarks regularly get lost among the ridiculous.
When it comes to the Mayweather-Pacquiao soap opera, don't let all the talk about drug testing and purse split fool you into thinking that the problem is between the two fighters.
The feud that is really slowing up this fight is the one between Arum and Mayweather.
Floyd was promoted by Arum for the first 10 years of his career. He left top rank claiming that Arum had underpaid and manipulated him. He also levied strong accusations about Arum being involved in corruption with boxing officials, using his influence to secure big payday title fights for unworthy challengers in his stable.
Arum certainly hasn't forgotten about any of this bad blood. When asked about a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao fight during that same infamous interview last year, Arum scoffed at the notion.
He claimed that due to Mayweather's defensive style, Pacquiao fans wouldn't want to see that fight. Of course, this makes about as much sense as saying that Peyton Manning's fans don't want the Colts to play teams with a good secondary.
The biggest problem with Arum, though, is that despite all his nonsense, boxing needs him. He has brought the sport back into major stadiums in the United States, and continues to provide interesting matchups with top level fighters. If they ever do get the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight signed, he will no doubt play a huge part in its success.
I suppose we can all hope that someday boxing will be run by nice, honest men, but until then we will have to rely on guys like Arum. He may be a jerk, but he's undeniably clever and effective.
Him and Floyd Mayweather actually have quite a bit in common.
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