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March 22, 2017

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BOB ARUM
By G. Leon

Mayweather-McGregor "no contest" reminds Bobfather of Ali-Inoki

GL: Congrats on a fantastic card in New York over the weekend. Can you give us some thoughts on the event? I'll tell you in all the years I've been doing these shows, that was something I'll never forget. The crowd was electric, the staging was unbelievable, the fights weren't the greatest fights in the world but nobody gave a shit because everybody was having such a great time. It was really something special.

GL: What did you think about Michael's performance and what's next for him?

Bob Arum: "I thought he was terrific, I'm sure he was a little nervous for his first fight and he started out a little tight. We had him fight with a guy who had eight fights, a journeyman, yeah but he did what he had to do and now his next fight is going to be in Boston."

GL: That wil be May 12 correct?

BA: "Yes, absolutely correct."

GL: Since Michael is already six years older than Shakur, how differently will they be moved?

BA: "Shakur is much younger, but Shakur is equally proficient as a fighter and I don't think there's going to be much difference with how we move both of them. They're not going to be spending endless time fighting preliminary fights. They're both going to be moved fairly rapidly.

GL: Saucedo look great in getting rid of Johnny Garcia. I spoke to Saucedo he wants a step up next, I also spoke to his coach Abel Sanchez who think he needs another two camps with him so they can fully gel. When do you think Saucedo is ready for a step up?

BA: "We started him when he was 17 years old and he was fighting out of Oklahoma City. We knew he had tremendous talent, but the problem was he wasn't getting the proper training in Oklahoma City. We finally convinced him to move out and make an alliance with Abel Sanchez who is a tremendous trainer and it was a different Alex Saucedo that we saw on Friday night. You have to realize that the guy he fought put Jose Ramirez a US Olympian on the deck and lost a decision to Ramirez and Saucedo just walked through this guy and blasted him out. I thought that was a tremendous, tremendous performance. If Abel says he needs a couple of more fights before we move him up, we have a great deal of respect for Abel."

GL: Will Saucedo be featured as part of the Verdejo card in June?

BA: "I don't know exactly where Saucedo will fit. He may fight before then, I can't really answer that question now. One fight that's looming for Saucedo and it could be a relatively big fight is Jose Luis Ramirez at 140. They're both our fighters, they're both undefeated and it would be a sensational fight."

GL: Last time we spoke April 8 was already sold out, how excited are you about this triple header featuring the greatest collection of eastern European talent you've ever promoted?

BA: "I'm leaving (this) morning for Oxnard because we're having a media day for the three guys and I'm really pumped. Then that week we're all going to meet with the Ukrainian ambassador to United States late Tuesday afternoon. I'm very excited and this is no small thing to have a collection of Ukrainian fighters on the same card. All three were teammates on the same Olympic team in London."

GL: Was keeping the April 22 PPV intact a no brainer for you even without Pacquiao being a part of the card?

BA: "It's Shakur and the three amigos. The three Mexican champs call themselves the three amigos, Valdez, Ramirez and Magdaleno they really like each other and Shakur is a great addition to the card. We're going to do an unbelievable entrance for Shakur like we did for Conlan and I'm really pumped. Shakur and the three amigos on April 22."

GL: Does Terence Crawford have an opponent yet?

BA: "Yes, but I can't tell you yet. We've sent out the contracts and until the contracts are signed I ain't saying who it is. We have an opponent and everything is in order for May 20 at the Prudential Center in Newark. We have a great lightweight co-feature with Beltran and the guy who beat Jose Felix, we have Shakur on that card. A Jewish kid Fliescher his name is, he was with Roc Nation but they gave him a release, he'll be on the card. The Brazilian gold medalist Robson Conceicao will be on the card and there's a tremendous Brazilian community in that area and they're going to come out to support him for that card. It's going to be great."

GL: When will Manny Pacquiao fight next and who would you like him to fight?

BA: "I just got off the phone with Michael Koncz and we're going to be announcing a fight for June or July for Pacquiao and then if he wins that fight we're going to be announcing two fights at the same time, assuming he wins the first fight."

GL: Will any of these fights be distributed by HBO PPV?

BA: "We're not planning on that, but they could be. We have to talk to them, but neither fight will take place in the United States."

GL: Mayweather-McGregor. Good for boxing or bad for boxing?

BA: "I don't know if it's good or bad for boxing. I just don't think it's competitive. Here's a guy who hasn't had a professional fight in McGregor and he's going to fight Floyd Mayweather who is one of the best if not the best professional fighter. That to me is a no contest, just like it would be a no contest if Mayweather fought McGregor with MMA rules. I did one fight years to my chagrin years ago with Ali against Inoki and it was the worst piece of shit I've ever put on."

GL: Allow me to rephrase the question, knowing that the bout which you think would be a no contest, would have a tremendous spotlight placed on it, would all that attention on a fight like this be good or bad for the sport?

BA: "I don't think it has anything to do with boxing. It certainly is going to be good for Mayweather and McGregor they'll make a lot of money, but I don't think it's good or bad for boxing."

Send questions and comments to: boxingtalkg@Yahoo.com



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