15 Oct Bob Arum: The four key points for boxing promotion
We and our partners utilize technologies, such as cookies, and gather info that is browsing to personalise the content and advertising shown for you and to provide you with the best experience.
Please let us know if you agree.
By Luke Reddy
BBC Sport at Las Vegas
Back in Bob Arum’s office occupies a photo of Muhammad Ali being embraced by him.
Both guys have written about the picture, with Arum’s message “On Muhammad, the one who made it possible, with love”
Arum, 87, and still at the forefront of boxing marketing, has pushed fighters out of Ali’s professions into Manny Pacquiao.
He retains no sorrow over letting future world champion Floyd Mayweather slip out of his grasp, has learned to make peace of rivals and credits as being secret to his strength bud.
Arum is currently in Las Vegas promoting the heavyweight bout between Otto Wallin and Fury of Saturday. His mobile phone always pings with text messages as we talk.
He has promoted around 2,100 fight nights as 1966 when he believed he would do one event.
Function from the profession lent him a glimpse of this game, when, trying to find the Office of the US Attorney, he had been instructed to seize funds raised by Sonny Liston’s fight with Floyd Patterson at 1962.
“Because I heard the amounts but I understood nothing about boxing,” he says. “I hadn’t ever seen a struggle.
“Then in 1965 I met with Jim Brown, maybe the greatest American footballer of all time, and he introduced me to Ali. Before I knew it I had been encouraging Ali.
“This was the big step. I thought I would do one struggle for the kisses and escape out. But a UK promoter asked me to deliver Ali over to fight Henry Cooper at Arsenal’s old stadium and, 53 years later, I’m still in it.”
After nearly 60 years in a business that was chaotic, Arum offered a four-point blueprint for anybody eager to market to BBC Sport.
Having a Harvard education, Arum had business acumen; the craft of boosting , however, was not normal to him.
27 bouts by Ali’s side had effects in a career that found him move to work with a number of the best names of boxing. None were bigger than Ali to hold the heavyweight title on three separate occasions.
“Really, everything I have learned about promotion and ways to capture attention, it started by Ali,” states Arum. “He was the greatest promoter I’ve everbeen around. He had been a fantastic influence on my own life.
“I remember people would come up to me and say how great I was for thinking up all these ideas. It was awkward as they weren’t mine, that they were his.”
From modifications in broadcast stages to the influence of media, Arum has learned to adapt to business advances but seems just one difficulty is the threat to some promoter.
“The most difficult portion of this business and why it occasionally gets mad, is the fact that there is not any barrier to entry,” he adds.
“People come with money, understanding nothing and that can be hugely problematic if people mess up the market ”
Arum, who resides in part of the year at Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, has made hundreds of millions of dollars through his Leading Rank organisation.
He could have made .
Mayweather bought himself out of his contract for about $. His succeeding riches has witnessed the conclusion labelled”boxing’s greatest investment”.
“The mistake I made was because of my long connection with Ali, I thought I understood everything about the African-American neighborhood,” Arum states.
“When Mayweather kept pushing us to advertise him with that neighborhood, I thought he didn’t understand much. But he had been looking in the youthful.
“He realised the potential and an elderly man I didn’t. He made a fortune.
“Together With Andy Ruiz Jr, who we encouraged, he wanted tremendous money for battles so we allow him to buy out his contract. He went and struck the lottery. Anthony Joshua was ruined by him.
“That’s existence, you can not live on that. I’m far from upset or resentful.”
Arum pits his wits against the likes of Eddie Hearn in the Al and UK Haymon. Rivalries exist however he faces none like his time spent squaring off against American Don King.
King emerged as an adversary from the mid-1970s – notably when he promoted the’Rumble in the Jungle’ between Ali and George Foreman – and remained a threat for over 20 years.
“He was a tremendous competition,” remembers Arum.
“I’d already been with Ali, so I was connected to the Nation of Islam along with the civil rights movement in the US.
“King made me irate when he attempted to label me a racist. It worked for some time with fighters registering along with him. I discovered how to handle that.
“He had really no life . He’d stay up till all hours calling to make fights.
“When the moment arrived, we worked together on large conflicts. 1 thing I learned early on is it’s not about you. When a fighter has an opportunity, you can’t let private animosity get in the way”
Arum was 74 if YouTube was created. As we talk, he’s going to run interviews with a number of the channels of the platform that serve lots of the youngest fans of the sport.
“The secret to success and longevity is simple; enjoy what it is you are doing,” he states.
“I understand people in this company that are so driven but they are constantly miserable.
“Another thing is I understand how to relax and what I’ve used instead of alcohol is marijuana, even if it was not legal.”
Asked when he began using the material, he jokes:”As soon as I got in to this company.
“It will help rest your head so that when you have to make hard decisions, your mind is rested.”
For now, three months short of his 88th birthday, there can be no rest. Arum is currently calling the shots in a fight week.
Saturday’s bout will be aired on BBC Radio 5 Live using full live text commentary about the BBC Sport website and is expected to start at around 05:00 BST at the UK.
Evil Expert: Watch outfor dead famous people