By Michael Marley
In a strange but compassionate way, funeral services in Los Angeles Monday for former world champion and universally liked and respected Genaro Hernandez tied controversial Floyd Mayweather Jr. to his often acerbic former promoter, Bob Arum.
The 79 year old Arum promoted some of Hernandez’s fights over a glossy, 14 year pro career but Uncle Bob stepped up when Hernandez, then working on some boxing telecasts for Top Rank, was an announcer on the TR payroll.
Publicist Broadway Bill Caplan often escorted his pal Hernandez down to Houston for chemotherapy treatments at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center.
And Arum footed most or all of the medical bills, acting when health insurance coverage was either finished or nonexistent.
So where does “Money” Mayweather come in?
Mayweather has quietly arranged to pay the entire funeral tab for Genaro which is fitting considering the 45 year old ex-champion only pro defeats were to Oscar De La Hoya and to a 21 year old Mayweather.
I’m willing to bet De La Hoya has also properly acknowledged Genaro’s death because, well, because Oscar is that kind of guy on such matters.
Lest we forget, Don Jose Sulaiman and the WBC was also rendered financial and spiritual support to Genaro and his family after he was hit with cancer in 2008. He went into remission twice but then the dreaded killer returned to finish this popular man off.
The largesse of Arum and Mayweather reminds me of when promoter Don King quietly (how often do you see those three words run together?) arranged to save Muhammad Ali’s comical sidekick Drew “Bundini” Brown from a pauper’s burial in rural Florida.
King never took any bows for the good deed, he just did it when no one else stepped up to properly inter the “Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee” man.
Maybe we can all leaven our constant criticism of boxing personalities and, once in a while, look at the positive things some of them do.
Mayweather and Arum, on the side of the angels…at least in the eyes of Genaro’s family and friends.