Arum Discusses His Storied 45-Years in Boxing05/30/2012
USA Today's Bob Velin questions Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum about his storied career in boxing:
What has been your greatest moment in your 40-plus years in boxing?
Two really come to mind. One is when George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer to win the heavyweight title. That was spectacular considering when Foreman came to me he was like a joke. To build him up and get him in that fight, and the organizations didn't want to approve the fight because they said he was too old. We finally got that fight on and he's losing every round, but he's moving more and more into the danger zone of that right hand. Finally he clocks Moorer and wins the title. The other that comes to mind is when Manny Pacquiao, who everybody said had no chance against Oscar De La Hoya, won every minute of every round before he stopped De La Hoya. Those two are very, very significant to me.
Who was the greatest fighter you've ever been associated with?
It was a combination -- Muhammad Ali, but the Ali that I promoted in 1966-67, before he evaded the draft and laid off for three and a half years. When he came back he was still a wonderful fighter, but he wasn't as great as he was before. He had lost speed and reflexes. Now he was more of a stationary fighter. The first Ali was the most incredible fighter I've ever seen. The second is Manny Pacquiao. Because Pacquiao was a gutty kid and he always finds a way to win. Close behind are favorites of mine like Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He was an incredible fighter, a tremendously loyal guy, I really enjoyed promoting him. Alexis Arguello was another great, great fighter, completely underrated, but as far as a technician, just brilliant. I hesitate to leave out (Roberto) Duran. The thrills that we got from crazy Duran. He was unbelievable, particularly his comeback fights when he beat Pipino Cuevas, and knocked out Davey Moore in the Garden. Then fought toe-to-toe with Hagler before losing a close decision. Duran was absolutely incredible. Then he went on to win the middleweight title a number of years later against (Iran) Barkley. Unbelievable talent.
Do you still keep in touch with those fighters?
Yeah, I keep in touch with all of them. I keep in touch with Ali, our wives are very close. Ali can't talk, but when he sees me he brightens up. Then we find a way to communicate. Obviously over the telephone, we can't talk, but we communicate through Lonnie. His recent hospitalization was really nothing. That was a scare that everyone had. People were putting on the wires that he was dying, but he had been in the hospital a month before. With his condition, he's got to remain hydrated. He was dehydrated. His mind is still very sharp. But this Parkinson's just keeps going and going. When Ali was in Las Vegas for his birthday, we have the leading brain institute in the world (the Cleveland Clinic). We took Ali and Lonnie down to see the facility. They're doing the Ali 70th birthday party in Las Vegas and (wife) Lovee and I are working hard on bringing in all the great fighters."
So what is the greatest fight you've ever seen?
Again, there are two because they're different. One was the Hagler-Hearns fight, which was three rounds of unbelievable action. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. And the other one was the Thrilla in Manila. Ali and Frazier. That fight was simply incredible. Those are the two best fights.
Read the full Q&A here.
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