Boxing writers through the years have regularly heard about big plans from Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, whose knack for exaggeration is well known.
For years, he talked about doing major fights in Macau, and many fans and media laughed about it, including yours truly. Just Arum had wishful thinking, many of us said -- until he opened the market there and has been doing regular shows for the past few years, including two Manny Pacquiao fights.
The critics were silenced.
Arum talked about how he would do fights at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and many fans and media laughed about it, including yours truly. Just Arum’s wishful thinking many of us said -- until he promoted two Pacquiao fights there in front of giant crowds.
The critics were silenced.
Now Arum is talking about doing a major fight card in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, or possibly Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country. I, for one, have learned my lesson by now and nobody will hear me laughing. Arum must be taken seriously, which is what I am doing.
On Tuesday, Arum and I spoke about the prospect of Top Rank putting on a big-time card in the UAE later this year.
“I’m working on a super duper card in Dubai in November. What we’d do is HBO would televise it live in the afternoon in the United States,” said Arum, noting that it would be night in the Middle East. “We want to do three championship fights of high quality. I’ve already talked to (HBO Sports president Ken) Hershman about it.”
Arum then outlined the card he has in mind, one that would be outstanding if he could pull it off.
• A featherweight unification fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters, provided Walters defeats Miguel Marriaga on Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lomachenko-Walters is a fight hardcore fans are stoked about.
• The Timothy Bradley Jr.-Jessie Vargas winner -- they meet for a vacant welterweight world title on June 27 (HBO) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California -- against Sadam Ali, the mandatory challenger. Ali is a New Yorker whose parents are immigrants from Yemen.
• Super middleweight contender Gilberto Ramirez challenging for a world title against the winner of the July 18 fourth fight between titleholder Arthur Abraham and Robert Stieglitz.
“It would be a tripleheader championship event,” Arum said. “They have an indoor stadium about 15 miles from the center of Dubai. We’ve had very, very interesting discussions.
“I’m not saying definitely it’s going to happen, but I know how to do these things and I know what’s real and what’s bulls---. I feel this is real. Would I bet my life on it happening? Not yet -- not until we have a sizable deposit.”
Arum laughed when he made the comment about the deposit but nobody should be laughing at his plan.