The dealmaker extraordinaire Bob Arum was his typical pull-no-punches self at the media center on Tuesday late afternoon, days out from the Super Bowl of prizefighting, circa 2015, #MayPac.
Arum, 83 years old, didn’t seem sound ground down by it all, it all being what he deems a pretty grueling and often unpleasant back and forth in hashing out terms for the mega-money clash beween the pound for pound aces.
Top Rank and the Manny Pacquiao side, and the Team Mayweather side, led by Al Haymon, and also some pockets of persons on the MGM side, namingly specifically mostly Richard Sturm, MGM Grand President, Arum said, were engaged in a heated engagement for weeks.
Sturm and Haymon are too tight, Arum thinks, and Sturm listens to Haymon, the reclusive power broker who has somewhat exploded the sport with his deal-a-minute flurry which has opened up platforms galore for his stable of 200 plus fighters.
“I’m having fun now that these big issues have been settled and the tickets are on sale,” Arum told me. “This was the worst experience on a promotion for me in the fifty years I’ve been in the sport,” he said.
The experience was filled with anxiety, he said, and things got “nasty and terrible.”
“We dug our heels in and lawyered up,” he said, when I asked how he worked around it. “You could write a book,” he said, just with the emails that went back and forth with the lawyers.
Arum had no harsh words for Floyd Mayweather, and repeated a couple times that he didn’t want to engage in any back and forth with the boxer. The stuff that he could say about Floyd would be nuclear, he said, but he doesn’t want to go there.
But Arum pulled no punches with Sturm. Arum made sure to note that he doesn’t have a turbulent relationship with all of the MGM, but, he said, one single person at MGM. He said that, for instance, Mandalay Bay is an MGM property and the people there treat Pacman beyond well.
I emailed an MGM PR person to ask for a response and will insert if I get a reply.
Some might recall Arum went full tilt at Sturm last April, when he took affront at all the love MGM was showing Floyd leading up to a Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch. One person I spoke to on the MGM side of things expressed surprised if Sturm were to be in a forgiving, congenial mode with Arum.
The Clash for All the Cash fight never was in danger of going off the rails, he said, because he would have sought hundred of millions in damages if the plug was pulled.
Oh, wait a second, we do have an actual in the ring fight to be talking about, don’t we?
Mayweather arrived amind fanfare at the MGM this afternoon and his rooters craned to get a glimpse of the flashy fisted hitter, who has been under some renewed scrutiny after ESPN’s Outside the Lines program took aim at him for a lengthy list of transgressions, including assault versus a mother to his children. He served time for that and many of his supporters believe the media is selective in their coverage, choosing to bust chops on the young black man rather than the saintly sort Pacman, who has transgressed but now seeks redemption in the Bible. It is unclear whether any of the scrutiny regarding Floyd’s darker side affects the fighter, who has seemed to this point to be superlative at separating his outside the ring self from the in the ring pugilist-specialist.
Man, it’s hard to focus on the fighting, because, for me, it’s all theoretical til they get in there. We’re all just guessing, some with more of a knowledge base than others…so it makes sense we talk about the characters, the rants, the trash talk, etc. I mean, in that arena, boxing beats every other sport, hands down.
Follow Woods on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069