By Michael Marley
Maybe Bob Arum of Top Rank thought he was offering constructive criticism when he told me that rival promoter Lou DiBella has botched the mass marketing of stylish world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Only minutes after I posted Arum's remarks, Volcanic DiBella did his typical Mt. St. Helen's hot molten lava explosion, ringing me up via his Fighting Publicist Kevin Rooney Jr. to give his opinion about the 79 year old Arum's slightly acerbic comments.
"Lou's got a few comments," the son of ex-Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Sr., said in one of the year's greatest understatements.
I didn't offer DiBella the floor, he more or less mounted the rostrum to blast Uncle Bob like so:
"Everything Dana White has ever said about Arum is true. It makes me so angry that people do this in our business, it's why this business is so self-destructive," DiBella said.
"It's all denigration and Bob is the king of denigration."
According to DiBella, Arum's slings and arrows are designed as a smokescreen to mask what he said is the fact that Top Rank aces Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will never fight Argentinian Martinez.
"So Sergio is having to fight second tier opponents, guys that people don't know," DiBella said. "But who's fault is that. You expect Sergio to draw 15,000 or 10,000 people with these kind of opponents?
"This fight in Atlantic City on Saturday with (Darren) Barker, we'll have a $500,000 gate despite going up against the Yankees and the Phillies in playoff games and Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish holiday. We're set up for 5,000 people and the arena will be largely full but not a sellout.
"Bob's done a good job with Pacquiao, yeah, but people knew Manny in America before he was with Bob. There's a lot more Filipinos in this country than Argentineans also," DiBella said.
"I wish Bob a long life but he's not a spring chicken. Why is he so negative all the time? He's worth 100 times more than I am financially but he has to criticize me?
"All this is to disguise how we won't let his Big Three, Pacquiao, Cotto or Margarito, get near Sergio. Sergio would knock out Cotto and he would beat Margarito now also. We've called Bob's bluff with Sergio. Yet he's the same In House Bob, who chases and steals other people's fighters like he's doing with Tim Bradley.
"He gets guys like Bradley convinced they won't fight Pacquiao unless they're in house, promoted by Bob," DiBella said.
DiBella also criticized TR fighter Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and lightweight champ Brandon Rios.
"Chavez Jr. is a joke, Sergio could fight him in a tag team match...he's so easy to beat. Bob wants to talk about ticket sales then, OK, ask him to release the real numbers on how many tickets Rios sold at the Home Depot Center or how many Chavez Jr. sells or how many (Yuriorkis) Gamboa sold in New Jersey," DiBella said.
"Bob is just a hater. He emboldens and highlights nothing but negatives. It's all done to exalt his own company at other people's expense."
DiBella said both Arum and Don King have milked boxing for decade after decade without improving it.
"Why doesn't Bob do something to help boxing's image, place an ad in the New York Times on that? He and King did nothing but rip the sport off all those years although Don's not so active now," DiBella said.
As far as shots Arum took at the marketing of Martinez, DiBella said it's a which came first, the chicken or the egg, situation. In other words, Martinez needs big name foes to get into the bitgime, to reach PPV TV status.
"We just did a workout for Sergio in Times Square with 1,000 people there. We're spending money on other things. Sergio is going to be the star in Mexico of a boxing reality show, like 'The Contender" was here. Sergio campaigns against the bullying of kids and against domestic violence also.
"Sergio keeps going to Mexico and he's very popular there. We got a big licensing fee for this fight from Mexico as well.
"Bob is nothing but a mean-spirited old man now," DiBella said. "For 40 years in boxing, all he's done is to care about maximizing the profit for himself and his company.
"I don't need to be told how to promote by this bitter man."