One day, Bob Arum is the withered old fool more responsible than anyone else in the world for the current decline and future demise of boxing in America.
The next, he’s the evil genius who put in the fix for Pacquiao/Bradley, which has temporarily made boxing interesting again.
Both are true. Both are the same man, the same brain, making the same unabashedly selfish yet shrewd business decisions without regard to what will happen when Pacquiao is gone, when Mayweather is gone, when boxing fans in America are gone, watching the UFC instead. Arum has gone on multiple tirades about how the UFC is terribly boring, or horribly ugly, or unfortunately gay, or a different business model that does not apply to boxing, never making a single accurate statement (and getting publicly laced by Dana White), blabbering on like the old fool he is. Last Saturday, after the decision Heard Round The World, Arum was the most vocal spokesman for the idea of a fixed (or at least unacceptable) outcome in all of Las Vegas. The old fool was putting in overtime as he bellowed to the media that Bradley’s manager, Bradley’s trainer, and the fighter himself all personally told Arum that they knew Pacquiao actually won the fight. Each of those men have denied what Arum claims they said–and they have cause to lie, but if you have ever taken Bob Arum for his word you are a fool as well.
The evil genius was hard at work, too.
Arum is still protesting now, in the days after the event, demanding an investigation, withholding the notion of a rematch unless a full investigation/explanation is offered, even claiming that the ticket brokers are currently forecasting poor sales for a rematch. Bullshit. This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. People will act out, they will feign disinterest, but they will watch the rematch. Arum is being a businessman, whipping up demand for his product. The rematch is a bankroll event. It was the first thing Arum said when the decision came in last night. It took him less than 24 hours to change his tune completely.
I’ve had a solid grip on the conspiracy-theory lobe of my brain for quite some time, but right now it’s like the 4th of July in there.
If you didn’t know, everything that’s happened in boxing since the fall of Don King has been about who controls the fighters. The promoters have been engaged in civil war like princes plotting for the crown for nearly a generation of fighters now. The last big names to fight under Don King are retiring and the plotting princes have split his former kingdom and ruined it in the process. Pacquiao is with Top Rank, Mayweather with Golden Boy Promotions. These are the two most important sentences in boxing. Bob Arum has been pulling the puppet strings to keep Pacquiao from fighting Mayweather since the first story was printed about a matchup (I believe, like Roy Jones Jr, that Floyd never wanted to fight Manny, but it takes two to tango). Arum and Top Rank take home ALL of the gate when Pacquiao fights a Top Rank fighter; the Mayweather fight is an unnecessary risk for them, and they’ve never, ever wanted it.
Teddy Atlas mentioned on ESPN that rumors have been flitting around Vegas that Pacquiao is perhaps unhappy with Top Rank and ready to leave Top Rank because of the Mayweather situation. His contract is up in 2013. Pacquiao has been more than willing to act as Arum’s puppet soldier in this civil war of promotions for a long time, becoming the biggest Asian sports star of his generation in the process, but it makes sense that he’s growing weary of Arum’s complete unwillingness to make the Mayweather fight.
I don’t actually believe that Bob Arum fixed the fight. But I do know that if this were a movie plot instead of real life, I’d expect Bob Arum’s character–the evil genius and the withered old fool combined–to behave precisely how the real Bob Arum is now. If he were to have fixed the fight, then he should behave EXACTLY HOW HE IS LITERALLY BEHAVING, demanding inquiry, refusing rematch, bellowing like a rich withered old rich fool. No matter the outcome of the fight, Top Rank will pile in the money, and Golden Boy Promotions (via Mayweather) will never get to be a part of it.
The evil fucking genius put in the fix, all right.