EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOB ARUM
By G. Leon
Donaire-Mares coming soon? Kelly Pavlik to quit boxing?
GL: Can you give us some thoughts on this weekend's card at Madison Square Garden that you are promoting?
Bob Arum: "There's three really good competitive fights and I think the fans are going to get their monies worth."
GL: Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia is a can't miss fight on paper. Does it play out that way in the ring?
Bob Arum: "How can it not? Salido can only fight one way and that's coming in and slugging. Garcia is much more technical, but if he has to stand there and fight he's done it. That fight has to end in a knockout."
GL: Between Salido and Gabriel Rosado [who fights Gennady Golovkin], there's two guys on this show who did a great job of turning their careers around at a time that most boxers do not. Why do you think that is?
BA: "I think it's opportunities. I think there's a lot of places where they can get opportunities to showcase their talents. I think Russell (Peltz) has done a tremendous job with Rosado of making spots available to him, whether it's on NBC or whatver. After having a career of where he was put in fights on short notice, he's now become a real fighter. He's a very, very attractive kind of fighter now. And Salido is pretty much the same thing. Until his victories over JuanMa, he was considered a tough fighter, but an upper tier journeyman. Now it's like, whoa, who's going to beat this guy. I think Salido is the best featherweight in the world and that's why this is a meaningful fight for Mikey."
GL: When can we expect Nonito Donaire back in the ring and against whom?
BA: "Certainly before the end of April, it will either be Guillermo Rigondeaux, probably Rigondeaux unless something could get done with an Abner Mares fight."
GL: For something to get done with the Mares fight you and Golden Boy would have to do business. Do you see that happening again?
BA: "Again, we've made a proposal to them so the ball's in their court. We'll see where it goes. We're close to Mares' manager Frank Espinoza. The kid Mares wants the fight and there's no reason why it should be held up. If the Mares fight became available that's the fight we'd prefer to make, but either fight is a major fight in that weight category."
GL: What's the haps on Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez?
BA: "We had hope to have each fight in April, but Manny wanted the April fight outside of the United States for tax reasons. Todd was over in Macau and we can't get a date with the arena, which wants the fight very badly, but their arena is tied up. Signapore is not an option and I don't think we can go to Manila for the fight, so I think they're going to have to wait till September."
GL: So it'll be the 5th fight in September?
BA: "The fight is going to happen. Manny wants to go ahead and Marquez is still considering but I think he'll be fine. But you know their wives don't want them to fight and all that shit, but I think we'll be fine."
GL: Will Kelly Pavlik's next fight take place against Andre Ward?
BA: "I don't know if Kelly is going to continue to pursue his career."
GL: Why would you say that? What happened?
BA: "I really can't say. I'm not sure what Kelly's plans are."
GL: Has he suffered another relapse relating to his previous issues with alcohol?
BA: "I don't think so. The questions is whether or not he wants to pursue his boxing career and I'm not sure."
GL: What else does Top Rank have lined up in the near future?
BA: Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, their rematch. It's going to be another can't miss fight. The first fight was great and the second one should be great also. It's going to be at the end of March. We're also looking to fight Timothy Bradley before the end of March."
GL: Who will Bradley be fighting?
BA: "I can't say. But Rios and Alvarado will fight on March 30 at Mandalay Bay."
GL: Closing thoughts?
BA: "I'm very proud of the show on Saturday and I'm looking forward to a night of hot action at Madison Square Garden."
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