Arum on Fox & ESPN Partnership: “It’s A Whole Different Dimension”

Bob Arum Thinks the Boxing Cold War is Over

Bob Arum
Bob Arum

Bob Arum Thinks the Boxing Cold War is Over


As boxing fans, one of the most aggravating aspects of the sport is not getting the best possible fights available. When it comes to this dilemma, the most frequent rationale is friction between rival companies. Whether it is the past rivalry of HBO versus Showtime or Top Rank versus the PBC, sour business relationships have killed or obscenely stalled a number of great potential showdowns.

Currently, one such match-up that has gone unrealized is WBO world welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s) versus IBF and WBC world welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KO’s). In the opinion of an overwhelming segment of boxing enthusiasts, these two knuckle-chuckers represent the finest two warriors in the division.

Unfortunately, the cold war that has raged between Crawford’s Top Rank promoters and Spence’s PBC faction has stymied this fantastic dust-up. Yet, perhaps this maddening reality is swiftly coming to an end.

DAWN OF A NEW DAY

This weekend, on February 22, the WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) will rematch former unified heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s). The bout, by all expectation, should be a wildly entertaining event. Like Spence and Crawford, Wilder is with the PBC while Top Rank supports Fury.

Obviously since this is a rematch, not only have the two competing factions got this heavyweight brawl completed once, like E-40 they’re about to get rich twice! With this being the case, the elephant in the room begs to know why this co-promotional financial success cannot continue to be reduplicated. Well according to legendary promoter Bob Arum, of Top Rank, it can!

While sitting down with Fight Hype, Arum outlined how the back-to-back success of Wilder v Fury has potentially brought an end to a long frustrating era of mindless rivalry.

“Let’s be honest, there was one experience which was the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and that was a big financial success but emotionally and everything was an absolute disaster, absolutely! I mean I’d go home at night with knots in my stomach, they’d drive me crazy! And I guess we drove them crazy, so it was horrible. So when we made this deal I said, ‘Al, are we going to have the same problem we had the time?’ He said, ‘I promise you, you won’t,’ and he lived up to his promise.

Everything was very, very smooth in this one between the two companies. So now, if this is the success we hope it will be, then he’s a business man, I’m a businessman and then we say ‘hey, let’s do it! Where else can we do a big promotion with FOX and ESPN come together and you know the one that is on everybody’s mind is Spence and Crawford.”

LET THE NETWORKS LEAD THE WAY

In the end, Arum believes that it was the cohesion of FOX and ESPN working together so impeccably that has set a precedent for boxing promoters to follow.

“It’s a whole different dimension. So I think it’s been relatively easy for FOX and ESPN to work together and having them work together so well sent a lesson and message to promoters who have been used to dealing in the era of SHOWTIME and HBO where that wasn’t possible.

…these guys are big, big players and they don’t want to be bothered with that. They don’t care if Joe Tess is going to be the commentator and their guy is going to do something else. I mean, they sat down and worked everything out, it was seamless! I mean it took weeks! You can’t imagine how bad it was with HBO and SHOWTIME arguing over this, arguing over that! You’re the B-side, you’re the A-side it was horrible! I mean we were wrecks!

Now here I’m relaxed and so forth. Am I anxious about how well it’s going to do? Of course, I’m a businessperson. But I’m saying all the groundwork has been so great thanks to these two networks and the example that they show.”

If these words prove to be true, then boxing could truly be on the eve of a truly golden era of the sport.

By: Bakari Simpson

About Bakari S.2941 Articles
Bakari is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com. Visit cheetahhead.com to view more of his literary work.