Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum, in town to hype his Saturday card in AC, took it gracefully when I aged him a year, and asked him if he was turning 83 on Sunday.
"82," he told me at BB King's, right after he'd thumped a tub for the card, portions of which will run on HBO, and is topped by a title defense for 122 pound titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux, who'll fight Joseph Agbeko, a Ghanian living in Las Vegas. Yes, Arum was in good spirits even though I potentially offended him with bonehead math, and that spirit had in fact infected his presentation minutes before.
Arum said that Rigo, a Cuban defector who won two Olympic golds for Mr. Castro, is likely the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, save only, perhaps, for Floyd Mayweather. And on the topic of Mayweather, Arum was most conciliatory, and gave off the vibes of a master politician when he told the assembled media that he is personally quite fond of all the Mayweathers. Floyd's Uncle Roger was present, because he's training Agbeko, a two-time champ, for the Rigo scrap, and Roger seemed to be on board with Arum's assertion. Same goes for Floyd Sr., and Floyd himself, Arum said, they all get along when they see each other and all are in fact quite warm to each other.
Was there a point to that tone, apart from being genial? I dare say there was; word is Arum would very much like to reheat the (stale? overheated?) negotiations for a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout.
The promoter told me that the numbers are in for Pacquiao's last outing, a most triumphant effort in which he made Brandon Rios look like a mere club fighter en route to a twelve round domination session in Macau on Nov. 23. The pay-per-view did between 500,000 and 600,000 buys, he said, which is under previous Pacquiao efforts. But, he noted, the fact that the Macau hosts, Sands China, compensated Top Rank so handsomely for the privilege of staging the event that he isn't dismayed by the numbers decrease.
Check back for more details and tibits from Arum...
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