They were introduced on a Thursday conference call as “good friends” by publicist Fred Sternburg, and if you didn't know the rich history of Bob Arum and Don King, who sparred over the last four decades with the skill and savagery of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, you'd easily believe it.
They chuckled over incidents that thirty or so years ago left each gasping in fury. But they also stayed grounded in reality, the business at hand, which is their co-promotion on March 12, pitting Arum's guy, Miguel Cotto, against the King's man, Ricardo Mayorga.
And they discussed even larger fish to fry: King said that Floyd Mayweather, a promotional free agent, was with him, and he hinted that a deal to get Mayweather-Pacquiao done could happen at any time. Arum said he and King would iron out Pacquiao-Mayweather in an hour, and contrasted that vision with his experience in dealing with Golden Boy as they tried to lock down the scrap. “Mayweather would do well to go with Don,” Arum said. “It would be one of the greatest if not the greatest promotion ever.”
King told me that Mayweather is in Miami, “in the vicinity.” So we can all hope that the old dogs, their teeth ground down with age, their blood not so likely to go from cool to boiling–at least not with each other–can get on the same page, and make the fight we all want to see happen.
Check back for a full look at the call, and then a complete look at the co-promotional history between the men, which dates back to October 1975, and the Thrilla in Manilla.