by Radio Rahim
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum explained, in great detail, why his company is in much stronger position since going forward with their decision to part ways with HBO earlier this year - and then sign a multi-year exclusive content deal with ESPN.
Arum believes Peter Nelson, the head of HBO Sports, was holding his company back from making certain fights - like this Saturday's clash between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Arum claims Nelson paid no attention to views of Top Rank's matchmakers, Brad Goodman and Bruce Trampler, and simply relied on his own opinions and personal feelings on a certain fight.
The situation, says Arum, is much different since coming over to ESPN.
"The people at ESPN rely greatly on our views, the views of our matchmakers, who have been in this business a long time, so it's easy to make matches that the public wants to see. At Showtime, to some extent, [boxing manager/adviser] Al Haymon has the same type of relationship. I think [Showtime Sports head] Stephen Espinoza relies on him to present good fights that he could put on the network," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
"As far as HBO, unfortunately, they are saddled with an inexperienced executive, who's been in this business for a very short time and thinks that he knows more than anybody who has ever been in the business. Well, let's see how that works out."
Arum is still fuming over Nelson's decision to televise card on Saturday night, that goes head to head with Lomachenko-Rigondeaux, which is taking place at The Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden.
HBO will televise a tripleheader, from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, with a headline bout between super featherweight sluggers Orlando Salido and Miguel Roman.
"I think the guy who is now running sports at HBO has one mission - and that's to hurt us. Why would he try to hurt us? Why would he, in the face of this historic fight here in Madison Square Garden, why would he put on a card in Las Vegas, where nobody is going to be there this weekend, to go against us. Why? What is the purpose," Arum said to BoxingScene.com.
"Why would he spend his subscribers' money, to put on a fight show like that against ours? Against ours! Trying to counter-program us. We're not his competition. You can watch ESPN for free. You can't watch HBO for free.... people have to pay $15 dollars a month, you know. And if they think that Game of Thrones, that's running out, is worth $15 dollars a month - let them pay it, but hey - keep away from us.
"If you're going to be in boxing, then help boxing, put on good shows, stop crapping around because you think you know better than anybody else. He doesn't. He's an inexperienced executive who shouldn't be in that position. Now I would never say that about Stephen Espinoza, who I don't have a great relationship with... we've competed and so forth, but Espinoza is a real executive."