An Open Letter to Bob Arum

by Paul Magno

Mr. Arum,
First, congratulations on your recent successes. Despite the pressure placed upon you by your other promotional rivals, you have thrived and have become the most powerful company in the sport with a firm grasp over three of the recognized glamour divisions in the sport: the Middleweights, The Welterweights and the Lightweights.

It is well within your right to try to make some major money form this position of power and I, personally, have no problem with trying to book the biggest events possible. These Mega-Events benefit both you and the boxers and I would never complain about boxers making as much money as they possibly can.

So, the attempts to get a fight for either Antonio Margarito or Manny Pacquiao against Oscar de la Hoya are understandable and reasonable since Oscar is currently Boxing’s biggest draw. Even the upcoming Pavlik/Hopkins fight is fair since it will be a Mega-Fight for a fighter like Kelly Pavlik who most definitely deserves a major payday. However, once the De la Hoya and Hopkins Sweepstakes are done with, I would make the humble request to get down to business and start with the business of stabilizing and unifying the divisions where your guys are in control.

Let’s start with the Pound for Pound king, Manny Pacquiao. Manny is a pure joy to watch and is 5-1-1 against first ballot Hall of Famers. Every fight with him is amazing and his recent ascent to Lightweight against David Diaz was only further proof of his greatness.

Like I said earlier, I won’t put him down for thinking about a huge fight with Oscar or even Ricky Hatton, but once ‘09 begins, regardless of whether a Mega-Fight at a higher weight goes down or not, its time to get down to business and dig into the ultra-deep Lightweight division where there will be any number of great fights awaiting.

Manny vs. the winner of Casamayor/Marquez, Campbell/Guzman or Juan Diaz/Katsidis would surely be a classic. Manny could take his pick among the winners of these three and the result would be pure Boxing gold.

As a matter of fact, the Lightweight division is deep enough so that Manny could spend the rest of his career there and never have anything less than a major PPV fight. Behind the current crop of quality Lightweights, the division also has some of Boxing’s most promising prospects like Amir Khan, Vicente Escobedo and, your fighter, Anthony Peterson as well as some tough veterans like Jesus Chavez and another one of your fighters, Kid Diamond.

The Pac-man is good enough to unify this division and the result would be great for the sport..

Now, move up to Welterweight, another one of the best divisions in the sport where Top Rank currently holds two of the four recognized World Titles. With Margarito as WBA champ and Joshua Clottey as IBF title-holder along with former #1 Welter Miguel Cotto and newly-crowned NABF champ Jesus Soto Karass, the Welterweight division is squarely in your hands. A unified Welterweight division, something that hasn’t existed in a long while, can certainly be achieved with just a few well-placed phone calls from you.

Reports are that a Margarito/Clottey rematch unification bout is in the works for November 1st and this is a major step in the right direction, but don’t stop there. You need to bite the bullet and call up Paul Williams. The winner of Margarito/Clottey must fight Williams or the credibility of the title unification would be destroyed. Williams has a win over Margarito and nobody can be considered a true, undisputed champ unless they beat Williams first.

Next would be WBC title-holder, Andre Berto, the least experienced of the division champs. It is also well within your power to corner Berto into a fight by establishing Cotto or Soto Karass as Berto’s #1 mandatory. This won’t be difficult since Cotto is already ranked #2 by the WBC and Soro Karass is #4..

Then, assuming your guys can take the title from Berto, this could lead to another title unification by the Fall of ´09. Conceivably, the Welterweight division could be unified by the end of ‘09 and the end-result would be good for both Top Rank and Boxing in general.

Now, lets go up to the Middleweight division where Kelly Pavlik, WBC and WBO champ and the consensus #1 160 pounder in the world currently resides. After his catch-weight money fight against Bernard Hopkins takes place, it would be in his, as well s Boxing’s, best interest to stop with the catch-weight fights and focus on the division that he has ruled over since beating Jermain Taylor last year.

IBF champ Arthur Abraham has showed interest in a title unification fight and a fight between Abraham and Pavlik would be a very good match-up as well as a solid money fight all over the world. Next would be a fight with Felix Sturm if Sturm would be willing to risk his title in a fight with Kelly. If not, the world would know the truth and Pavlik would be considered the true unified champ despite only holding three of the four belts.

After the dust settles at 160, Kelly could move up to 168, where there are some very interesting young prospects on the horizon, and try the whole thing all over again. He’s young enough to give it a real go and possibly even make a run at 175 before he calls it a career. Kelly can even be bigger and make more money over a longer period of time by foregoing the Senior Fighter’s Circuit and becoming a fighter who take on and takes out the best fighters in his division in their primes. Remember, people pay homage to the prime Roberto Duran and not the Duran who became a fixture on the Senior Circuit. Pavlik, with his age and talent, gives Top Rank the possibility of representing a respected money fighter for the next decade. The moves up and down in weight and the wasted time of fighting horrible challengers only take away from the time he could be using to achieve is destiny in the sport.

So, again Mr. Arum, congratulations on your recent successes, but now comes the truly hard work. By foregoing some of the fast money fights and concentrating on the significant divisional bouts featuring your fighters, you will be ensuring the overall strength of the sport at a time when Boxing is becoming more and more of a fringe sport in the eyes of the media and general public.
I’m just speaking for myself as a life-long fight fan and a peripheral member of the Boxing community and I wouldn’t presume to be able to do your job better than you, I can only comment on how things look from this side of the TV or computer screen and as someone who fills the seats for your shows, buys them on PPV and watches them on cable.

Boxing is, ultimately, a business where money needs to be made and nobody blames a fighter or a promoter for making the occasional fluff fight for a big payday, but all fluff fights result in a bad overall product. They make the sport look bad, the fighters look weak and the promotional company look even worse. Solid, unified champions defending against the very best in their divisions reinforces the love of the game in the fight fan as well as making it easier for any new fans to jump right in and follow the sport. Remember, what’s good for Boxing is good for Top Rank.

Mr. Arum, you are in the unique position to be able to have a huge positive impact on the sport. You can still make your money while truly being able to stabilize a sport that so desperately needs stabilization. And some day, when you are retired from the sport, you can look back and honestly feel the respect of being one of the men who saved Boxing.


Paul Magno, Adminstrator of the Boxing Times Blue Corner (

P.S. Feel free to come into our forum anytime you wish and see how many truly informed boxing die-hards there still are..

(I sent this off to the offices of Top Rank and if I get any reply, I will post it here and on our forum.)



3 responses to “An Open Letter to Bob Arum

  1. Paul, I hope you don’t mind my adding an unofficial co-signature.

    Best wishes for a reply. It deserves one.

  2. Hope you don’t mind my adding an unofficial co-signature.

  3. No problem…I’m not counting on a reply, though…

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