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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Next for Bob Arum's Many Stars?

TAMPA, Fla. -- With eyes fixated on perspiration-soaked, WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto's workout, Bob Arum surveyed his latest promotional responsibility at The Fight Factory gymnasium like an artist appreciating his most recent piece.

"Miguel is just a fighter with great, great heart," said Arum, whose 42 years in boxing began with the Muhammad Ali victory over George Chuvalo -- his first of 26 fights involving the man many call "The Greatest" -- and included the George Foreman comeback.

A 78-year-old Harvard graduate and attorney, Arum also handled every fight of Marvelous Marvin Hagler's career, as well as substantial portions of those of Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

FanHouse caught up with Arum on Tuesday during Cotto's training in Florida for his Nov. 14 defense against Manny Pacquiao to discuss the futures of Cotto, Pacquiao, and several other fighters he promotes.

Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs):
Coming off of two straight KOs of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, the Filipino star "has four options" if he defeats Cotto.

"If Pacquiao-Cotto is a great, great fight, we can do a rematch. Or he could fight Shane Mosley, whom he wants to fight," said Arum. "Manny could fight Juan Manuel] Marquez a third time down at 140, or he could fight Floyd Mayweather Jr."

Arum said that Pacquiao "would prefer to do what is the biggest thing out there, and that is Mayweather."

"But we don't have the time to go through all of the nonsense and the posturing and all of the crap that Mayweather can put you through," added Arum. "And we have a very short window to make his next fight. So it may very well be that we go to another opponent."

Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs):
A Bronx resident and Ghanian warrior who is coming off of June's 12-round split-decision loss to Cotto, Clottey will take on former world champion, Carlos Quintana, of Puerto Rico in Atlantic City on the Dec. 5 undercard of Kelly Pavlik's middleweight defense against Paul Williams.

"We almost had Joshua into a fight with Shane Mosley, but that didn't happen because HBO was pushing Andre Berto for the Mosley fight," said Arum. "So, instead, they gave us the money to put Clottey on the card with Williams and Pavlik. Quintana is the only guy who has a victory over Paul Williams."

Clottey-Quintana is a scheduled 10-rounder.

"If Clottey wins, I'm going to move him where he can get a big shot afterward," said Arum. "The problem with Joshua is that he is very, very good, and a lot of these top welterweights don't want to fight him."

Antonio Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs):
The Tijuana, Mexico resident owns a KO victory over Cotto, but also lost his last fight to Mosley by KO. Margarito has been inactive while under investigation since February for the alleged use of a plaster-like substance in his gloves.

"They revoked his license at the beginning of February, so we have to wait for that one-year period to be over, and then, he can apply for a license in any other state in the United States and he probably will apply for a license in Nevada," said Arum.

"And then we want to give him a tuneup fight on one of our Spanish channels," said Arum. "And then, put him up for maybe a rematch with Cotto."

Juan Manuel Lopez (27-0, 24 KOs):
The Puerto Rican WBO superbantamweight (122) champion is coming off of last weekend's 12-round, unanimous decision victory over Tanzanian Rogers Mtagwa.

"Juan is going to fight either Elio Rojas or Steven Luevano on Jan. 23 on HBO for the 126-pound title, because we think that he should go up in weight," said Arum. "That's part of the reason that he wore down against Rogers Matagwa, because he struggled to make the weight. So we're going to get him a fight at 126 pounds."

Yuriorkis Gamboa (16-0, 14 KOs):
The Cuban former Olympic gold medalist is coming off of last weekened's fourth-round stoppage of Whyber Garcia in defense of his WBA featherweight (126) crown. Gamboa's effort was executed on the same card as Lopez's win over Matagwa.

"On the same card that Lopez will fight for the featherweight title, Gamboa will defend his title probably against Barnabe Concepcion, who is a hard-punching Filipino fighter," said Arum, referring to a man with a record of 27-3-1 with 15 KOs.

"If Lopez and Gamboa are both successful, I'd like to have them meet each other in June," said Arum. "It will be in New York, and it would take place in Madison Square Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade."

Yuri Foreman (27-0, eight KOs):
The 29-year-old rabbinical student and Brooklyn resident will take on southpaw WBA junior middleweight (154) king Daniel Santos (32-3-1, 23 KOs) of Puerto Rico on the Cotto-Pacquiao undercard.

"I think Foreman has a good chance to beat Santos and to become the first Israeli ever to win a world boxing title," said Arum. "So there's a lot of interest in Israel. I think it will be a very, very good fight."

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (40-0-1, 30 KOs):
A native of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mex., and the son of the legendary fighter by the same name, Chavez meets Troy Rowlands (25-2, seven KOs) of Grand Rapids, Mich., on the Cotto-Pacquiao undercard.

"That should be a very good, middleweight fight. In Chavez Jr., we have a kid who has never had an amateur fight. Most of these kids that go pro, they're used to being in the ring. They've had 50 or more amateur fight, when he's never had one," said Arum.

"So he's had to learn boxing as a professional. And now, he's graduating in class because Rowland is a step

Arum has long-range plans to match Chavez Jr. against New York's John Duddy (27-1, 17 KOs).

"Chavez Jr. will fight on Dec. 19 in Mexico, and John Duddy will be on that card," said Arum. "If they both win, on St. Patrick's Day, they will fight in New York in Madison Square Garden."

Odlanier Solis (15-0, 11 KOs):
Solis weighed 271 pounds for last weekend's second-round KO of former heavyweight contender, Monte Barrett.

"I think Solis has the potential to be the best heavyweight out there. Nobody has hands in the heavyweight division as fast as Solis. He knocked out Monte Barrett with a left hand that went six inches," said Arum.

"I'm really high on Solis. He's got to lose 15, 20 pounds, and then, he can fight anybody, including the Klitschkos as soon as they're ready," said Arum. "If they called me up tomorrow, and wanted to fight Solis, we would agree to fight the Klitschkos."

Alphonso Gomez (20-4-2, 10 KOs):
Gomez is coming off of two straight knockout wins.

"I have Alphonso Gomez against Jesus Soto Karass, a weltweight" out of Los Angeles with a record of 24-3-3 and 16 KOs, said Arum. "It's going to be a barnburner."

Karass has won eight straight with three KOs.

Source: http://boxing.fanhouse.com/2009/10/14/whats-next-for-bob-arums-many-stars/

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