LAS VEGAS: Boxing promoter Bob Arum, who is showing no signs of slowing down at age 83, says he will continue to make blockbuster fights until they “put me in a box.”
“My problem is when you get to be an age that I am you are afraid to stop because you wonder how long you are going to last,” said Arum.
“If you just put your head down and keep going you figure to last longer than if you just quit.
“I will do it until they put me in a box or I can’t do it anymore.”
The often bombastic Arum has handled some of the biggest names in the sport, including Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, George Foreman and Oscar De La Hoya.
His latest protege is Filipino icon and eight division champion Manny Pacquiao, who is gearing up to face Floyd Mayweather on Saturday.
Both fighters are expected to make well over $100 million from the welterweight unification bout with 60 percent of the purse going to Mayweather and Pacquiao collecting the other 40 percent.
The blockbuster bout could generate a record $400 in revenues with the majority of that coming from pay-per-view buys.
The numbers are staggering even for Arum who has promoted some of the biggest fights in boxing history.
“I am not going to project any numbers because any number I say people will say ‘there he goes, bullshitting us again,’” Arum said.
“If the numbers turn out to be what we hope for, each fighter will make more money than a complete major league payroll of most baseball teams.”
Arum described this as the most difficult promotion of his career which has lasted some 50 years. He said there is no rematch clause in the contract and he doesn’t want one.
Most hellish time
“I am 83 years old. I’ve been through the most hellish time of my pro career,” Arum said on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).
Arum, who grew up in a Jewish community in Brooklyn, is the son of an accountant.
After attending Harvard law school he got a job in Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, becoming the head of its tax division in 1965 at age 34.
He then went into private practice and started doing some work for a group of businessmen who were involved in boxing.
Arum ended up getting NFL star Jim Brown a job as a television commentator. Brown then introduced Arum to his friend Ali. One thing led to another and soon Arum was promoting Ali’s fights. Over the next dozen years he promoted two-dozen Ali fights, including the 1975 Thrilla In Manila against Joe Frazier.
Arum also promoted world heavyweight champion George Foreman in the 1970s. Under Arum’s guidance, Foreman switched his persona from a menacing bully in the ring to a fun-loving likeable champ who could still knock people out.
Arum has also rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. In 1981 he uttered the line he is now most famous for saying, “Yesterday I was lying. Today I am telling the truth.”
Arum was at it again on Wednesday when talking about the record-setting revenue the Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown would generate.
“Any number I say nobody believes it. And I don’t believe it anyway,” he said.