The Legendary Fight Promoter commented on the fight promotion business.
Robert Arum, lawyer and businessman, is the founder of Top Rank, a boxing promotion company. Arum lived much of his life in New York and graduated Cum laude at Harvard Law School. For a while, before Arum had never went a professional fight or knew a professional boxer, he worked by United States Department of Justice as an attorney.
• American Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown introduced Bob Arum to Muhammad Ali
• After the “fight of the century”, Arum plans to Pacquiao’s victory parade
• Arum doesn’t believe the May 2nd bout will be the biggest event for Vegas
Well known to US gambling news, Arum was working on a money laundering case involving a bout between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston. He gained the acquaintance of Jim Brown, considered by many the greatest American football player that ever lived. Brown introduced Arum to Muhammad Ali and involved him in Ali’s bout with George Chuvalo in 1966. Never looking back, Arum four years later started Top Rank, Inc.
Arum comments on boxing, his role and the “Fight of the Century.”
After starting Top Rank in 1970, Las Vegas became is Arum’s headquarters and his home. Arum was a promotional pioneer producing fights that would end up being blueprints for future generations to follow. His promotional battles with rival fight promoter Don King were practically worthy of their own ringside attendance. Combined Arum and King made Vegas the Mecca of professional boxing.
Arum doesn’t speak of the older heavyweight bouts with much regret. “I don’t expect to promote another heavyweight. They cost too much to sign, fight too seldom and don’t have the constituencies that the lighter weight Latinos have.” Some of the biggest lasting impressions Arum made in boxing promotion involved the legendary battles between Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard who weren’t heavyweights.
Although the bulk of the promotional rights to the “Fight of the Century” between Mayweather and Pacquiao belong to Mayweather Productions, Arum has a part with his representation of Pacquiao. Arum, who’s already fought much with Mayweather’s camp, shamed them for their efforts to get more than their fair share of tickets. His outward bursts of anger as we slammed down phones and jabbed in air reveal more his fervor.
Arum sees strength of this bout, but his experience with history gives him some distance from the inflated hype of this moment. When the record breaking bout is done with, Arum knows what he’ll do. “When it’s over, the first thing I am going to do is grab my wife and jump on an airplane with Manny and his wife and fly straight to the Philippines for the biggest parade in history.” The event will truly make Philippine gambling news.
Arum fails to see the huge impact “Fight of the Century” will have on Vegas
Many people will come to Vegas to spend money on hotels, restaurants, night clubs, pubs as well as all sources of entertainment. Even the prostitution business will see increases during fight week. Just like with the inflated street value of the fight tickets, hotel rates will also see an increase. One could easily imaging that May 2nd, might be the largest event in Sin City. Arum has a bit of a different opinion about this.
“What I’m saying is, this is a huge event. A lot of people are going to come to this town on fight week and spend a lot of money and that will make a lot of locals happy. But you can’t put it in with the greatest revenue-producers in Las Vegas history.” Little has been said about the gambling which is normally the “bread and butter” of Vegas. Historically, casino revenue is higher during the time of a fight.
“Those table drops you talked about can never be equaled with the currency restrictions the government has put in place since then. They are designed to stop money laundering and their impact on the Asian big spenders who are critical here is enormous. The same is true for other gamblers who want huge lines of credit, but won’t provide the personal information the government now demands the casinos collect for the IRS.”
In essence, Arum stated that because of US gambling laws, the Vegas we think of doesn’t exist now. “When we had Ali-Frazier I and the country was going crazy for it, we didn’t have pay-per-view. The table drops we used to see at huge sports events will never be equaled. Back in the ‘70’s and 80’s there was a lot of ‘funny money’ in town.” Arum spoke more of the revenue that will go to hospitality workers, cab drivers and waiters than casinos.