EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOB ARUM
By G. Leon
"Marquez-Pacquiao V is the biggest fight in boxing!"
GL: Congrats on promoting a great event this weekend. Can you give us some thoughts on the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez?
Bob Arum: "As I told everybody before, people were saying why do a fourth fight when you know it's going to be like the first three. I told them it was going to be different because both guys are looking for a knockout so it's going to end in a knockdown. I said within six rounds and that's what happened. These guys threw caution to the wind. They went at each other. I think Manny had the edge going through the sixth round and then as it was about to end, he ran into a vicious right hand from Marquez, who knocked him and that was that. It was one of the most exciting fights I've seen in many, many years."
GL: Can boxing fans expect a fifth fight?
Bob Arum: "Well, there's certainly been a lot of talk about that. Certainly they want to see these two go at each other because it's so entertaining. The fight camps have told me that they'd like another go at each other. But I told each guy I ain't talking boxing with them until next year. They should go home and have a good rest and enjoy the holidays. Then on the first of the year we'll talk about it."
GL: It's funny how sometimes those why-do-it-again scenarios becomes something in high public demand.
BA: "That's right. If you give the public fights like they got Saturday night that's the best advertising you have for boxing."
GL: Absolutely. Have you been moving Manny Pacquiao without considering the Floyd Mayweather fight as a realistic option? Obviously that loss damages what Mayweather-Pacquiao would have been. Do you not really care about that as much because you never expected it to happen? How do you look at that situation?
BA: "The biggest fight out there is a fifth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. That's what the public wants to see and it's a fight that does tremendous business. We move on, we move on. Some trains leave the station."
GL: In your opinion if Manny Pacquiao defeats Marquez in a fifth fight, can the Mayweather-Pacquiao event ever be what is was in 2010?
BA: "Listen, it is what it is. After every fight, new cards are dealt and you play the hand that's dealt to you."
GL: If you could do it all over again would you have gone out of your way to make the Cotto rematch as opposed to the fourth Marquez fight?
BA: "We offered Cotto $13M. He says that didn't happen and we never offered him $13M. Miguel doesn't lie. I never talked to Miguel, I talked to Gaby Penagaricano and in my opinion that offer was not transmitted to Miguel. Instead he had Miguel take a fight in Madison Square Garden, because he knows as well as anybody that you just rent the arena, sit on your ass and watch the people come. Well, he had another thing coming. Besides what a genius to put Miguel in the ring with Austin Trout [who defeated Cotto]. I mean that really takes a lot of brains."
GL: Has Manny told you that he wants to boxing again?
BA: "Manny is leaving for the Philippines tonight and I had the opportunity to talk to him on the telephone today and he most assuredly told me that he wants to continue to fight."
GL: Do you think that his change of lifestyle as far as what he's no longer doing outside of the ring have effected him as a fighter?
BA: "I think the more you whore, the more you drink, the more you do bad things, the better fighter you are. (laughing hard) I don't know though."
GL: Where does Timothy Bradley fit into the mix? If Pacquiao was going to be out of the ring for an extended period of time that would seem like a logical match for Marquez.
BA: "Timothy Bradley needs to consider that a fighter needs to fight to remain relevant. Hopefully we'll have him back in the ring in February against the best welterweight we can find."
GL: Have you ever seen a Mexican boxer get stronger at 39 years old the way Marquez has?
BA: "Why should it be the fact that he's a Mexican? What difference does that make? There are Mexicans and then there are Mexicans. There are the ones that have the Indian blood and ones that don't. I think some fighters using new current methods can get really strong no matter what their age is. I know Marquez worked like an animal for the last six months and I think that accounted for the fact that he got stronger. When I talked to Manny he says that Marquez didn't appear to be stronger to him, neither was his punching power any different than he recalls it was in the other three fights."
GL: We will be speaking quite frequently in the coming weeks, can you give us some closing thoughts for the fans and we'll wrap it up.
BA: "I'll be in the Big Apple January 19 for an HBO triple headers. Gennady Golovkin fights Gabriel Rosado and that's a really big bout and should be a good fight. Orlando Salido fights Mikey Garcia and that should be a war and Rocky Martinez will face Burgos, Artie Pelullo's fighter. It should be a good triple header and we're also going to have Felix Verdejo on the undercard and we have high expectations for him. I think he's going to be another Puerto Rican star. He reminds me a lot of Tito Trinidad. It's going to be a big night of boxing on January 19th."
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