By Mark Vester
The war between the top boxing promotional companies, Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, is not cooling down any time soon. MGM/Mirage, the company that operates the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is now caught in the middle of the feud.
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times , Arum said MGM/Mirage president Richard Sturm turned down the opportunity to host Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey because the date of March 13 was reserved by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Golden Boy had date reserved for two possible fights, Roy Jones Jr. vs. Bernard Hopkins and then it was eyed for Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Paulie Malignaggi. Neither fight played out for the date. Arum thinks the company showed favoritism by holding the date for two fights that weren't finalized.
Arum took Pacquiao vs. Clottey to Cowboys Stadium in Texas. He told the paper Pacquiao may never fight in Las Vegas again because of Sturm's relationship with Golden Boy.
“We’ll never have Manny fight at MGM again. Manny brings in more business to Las Vegas than any other boxer, more than anyone since [Mike] Tyson. Manny’s a boon to the gaming tables. A casino guy once told me, ‘Manny’s Frank Sinatra times 20.’ So MGM just [hurt] themselves, and all the other casinos in Vegas,” Arum said.
Sturm spoke to The Times and said Arum's accusation was not true. There is no special treatment for Golden Boy events.
"Golden Boy had told me at the time that they planned to bring in Mayweather versus another opponent - Malignaggi at the time," Sturm said. "It's industry practice to honor whoever has the first hold on the date. Bob called me, I explained that situation, and the rest is history. We don't book promoters; we book fights. Bob is entirely wrong to say there's anything more to our relationship with Golden Boy than that."
Arum doesn't seem to buy it, but he doesn't completely rule out a Pacquiao return to Las Vegas at some point in the future.
Schaefer was reached by the paper after Arum said "f**k Golden Boy" in response to a reporter asking him if he was worried about Golden Boy's reaction to his comments. Schaefer had no intention of engaging Arum in a verbal sparring session.
"It sounds like Bob is declaring war," Schaefer said. "I am sorry he feels like that. I respect him and Top Rank, and I won't get involved in this back-and-forth."
Meanwhile, Sturm wants to make peace with Arum.
"We had no idea March 13 was going to open. Had I known, I'd be more than excited to have Manny come back here, and I'd love to have him back. I wouldn't have a problem picking up the phone and expressing my interest in having Manny back here soon," Sturm said.
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