By Keith Idec
Bob Arum admits that turning 80 today means something to him, much more than most birthdays.
The Hall-of-Fame promoter joked, too, that if nothing else, he has kept pace with longtime promotional rival Don King, with whom Arum has a more civil relationship today than they had for the better part of the last four decades.
“I’m just thankful to the lord that [I’ve reached] a real milestone,” Arum said, “because I never really pay much attention to birthdays. But the big 8-0 is the big 8-0. King made it [to 80] earlier in the year, and you know, he is not going to out-do me.”
Arum was joking about King, who turned 80 on Aug. 20. Nevertheless, while King barely promotes shows these days, Arum’s company, Top Rank Inc., remains one of the busiest, most powerful promotional firms in boxing.
The Harvard-educated attorney, who promoted his first fight in March 1966 (Muhammad Ali-George Chuvalo in Toronto), has promoted roughly 11,500 boxing cards throughout the world since Arum formed the company. Those cards have featured Ali, Alexis Arguello, Iran Barkley, Michael Carbajal, Julio Cesar Chavez, Miguel Cotto, Donald Curry, Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Larry Holmes, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mike McCallum, Carlos Monzon, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao, Johnny Tapia, James Toney and Mike Tyson.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.