Tommy Barber – London
Celebrating 45 years working inside the boxing industry, Bob Arum, the founder and CEO of Top Rank – a Las Vegas promotional company – has commented on the changes he’s witnessed since he first entered into the sport, as well as stating the next evolutionary steps he expects the fight game to make in how boxing is both promoted, and watched.
“You have to understand that when I first started in the sport in the mid-60′s there were no satellites, no international satellites and no domestic satellites,” mused Arum to Fight Hype during a recent media conference call.
“So the communication… we would look at it as being in the dark ages. When we did a closed circuit fight it was a whole different business model because of how limited we were in communication.”
A Harvard Law School graduate, Arum possessed little fascination with boxing until 1965. It was not long before he became synonymous with how boxing was, and continues to be, promoted.
Arum’s Top Rank company emerged as a true rival to Don King and has seen him do business with the sport’s elite fighters including: Muhammad Ali; Joe Frazier; Sugar Ray Leonard; Roberto Duran; Carlos Monzon; Marvin Hagler and Floyd Mayweather Jr. To this day he still represents eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao, junior middleweight king Miguel Cotto and rising Filipino sensation Nonito Donaire.
The 79-year-old stated that the biggest change in boxing is how it is now watched live by millions of people around the world: “We now have all of the satellites, we have pay-per-view, we have stuff that no one contemplated 45 years ago.
“In the next ten or 15 years people will be buying a pay-per-view fight on their iPad. They won’t only be buying it on the iPad, but will be electing which corner to watch between rounds and which camera angle to watch a fight from.
“Everything changes yet everything stays the same because, ultimately, it’s two guys in the ring facing off against each other,” concluded Arum.