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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bob Arum sending the wrong message by staging beltless mega-fight

When Bob Arum went on the record saying “nobody in the US” cares whether the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto bout on Nov. 14 is for a world title or not, I couldn't help but shake my head for so many reasons.

First of all, Bob Arum is wrong in more ways than one by saying such a statement that I can't figure out where to even begin.

How can you sell this fight as the fight of the year and yet dismiss the importance of the recognition and prestige that a seventh divisional title can bring for Pacquiao and boxing? Come on now, tell me who doesn't want to be part of history?

There's a reason why boxing announcers enumerate a fighter's accomplishments during ring introductions. The same reason why golf fans come out of the woodwork whenever Tiger Woods is going for a Grand Slam and why people are already talking about him surpassing Jack Nicklaus' 18 major title victories one day. Do you remember how basketball fans obsessively followed the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls when they were about to break the most wins in a single season record? How about telling the NFL's 1972 Miami Dolphins that their perfect season means nothing? I can go on forever with this but to make a long story short, titles may seem petty at times but they are indeed significant.

Fans care about history. I don't care whether they are in the United States, The United Kingdom or the United Aram Emirates. Fans that care about their sport will follow an athlete who is pursuing a level of greatness nobody else before him has ever gone before.

And what does it say about US boxing fans not caring about the Pacquiao-Cotto mega-fight now being a title fight? It's almost saying that belts absolutely mean nothing anymore in the world of boxing. Why in the world do we call and consider certain fighters as champions then if that's the case? I get that the belts are not what they used to be but still, saying the US does not care about the biggest fight in boxing being a non-title fight when it can very well be one and there's a nice piece of history waiting as an incentive on the side is just like saying America doesn't care about boxing as a sport period. All they want to see is two people beat the crap out of each other. Championships and the honor and glory behind it are no longer relevant to American fight fans. False, false and false.

With his statement, Arum is only emphasizing that at the end of the day, it's truly his best interest that matters most. Perhaps fellow Examiner Michael Marley knows more about Pacquiao's Filipino fans than Arum currently understands. Matter of fact, Marley has already started a campaign for Pacquiao fans to petition that his fight against Cotto be for Cotto's belt. If there's one thing that Filipinos know other than Pacquiao's punching power, it's the strength of "People Power". If Arum insists, he might very well feel the wrath of Pacquiao fans and have this fight plummet in sales together with every other Filipino flavored card such as "Pinoy Power 2" on August 15.

How much money does Arum really need to make? A few hundred G's is pocket change for him but by pinching pennies by not wanting to pay the sanctioning fees and protecting Cotto's belt for Cotto's future marketability just says blatantly how much his fighter's legacies and boxing history for that matter, mean to him.

Bob Arum is a promoter and a brilliant one at that, but even the great ones falter at times, and in this case, Bob should do the right thing and realize or at least admit that the world does care for Pacquiao-Cotto being a title fight- even if he himself obviously does not.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-10947-Indianapolis-Fight-Sports-Examiner~y2009m7d27-Bob-Arum-sending-the-wrong-message-by-staging-beltless-megafight

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