Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum was hard at work in New York on Tuesday.
The 79-year-old promoter was touting shows to be headlined at New York’s Madison Square Garden, featuing WBO and WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire on Oct. 22, and a rematch between WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto and ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3.
Donaire is looking to rise in weight should he get beyond his defense against WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Omar Narvaez.
If Donaire does, Arum would like to see him eventually face either WBO junior featherweight beltholder Jorge Arce or unbeaten featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa as a lightweight, or, perhaps see Gamboa in a challenge against WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios — all four of whom Arum promotes.
Arum addressed Donaire’s association with former BALCO founder turned nutritionist Victor Conte.
Conte had a prison stint for his work with illegal performance-enhancing drugs in numerous professional sports after building a four-year career out of helping athletes to circumvent Olympic-style drug testing policies until BALCO was raided in 2003.
But since being released from prison, Conte, since 1988, has run SNAC, an acronym for Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning, which is an organization that supplies legal sports nutrition products and supplements.
Arum also shed light on the careers of New Jersey junior middleweight Pawel Wolak and lightheavyweight prospect Mike Lee, a Notre Dame graduate, who will fight at The Garden on Dec. 3.
Arum also offered his thoughts on the controversial ending to Saturday night’s fourth-round knockout by Floyd Mayweather that dethroned WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz.
Bob Arum on the controversial ending to Mayweather-Ortiz, each of whom he once promoted:
“What do you mean he told the timekeeper “Time in?” Shouldn’t he have told the fighters time in? It was horrible for boxing. Horrible. That’s what really gripes me about it.”
On whether Mayweather and Ortiz should fight a rematch:
“Why do you think he [Ortiz] butted him? He wanted to get out of there in my opinion. That was such a flagarant foul, it was like a guy looking to get disqualified. After what happened to him, you’d expect him to arise in protest.
“Meanwhile he’s grinning like a Chesire cat because he’s out of there. Whatever you want to say about Floyd Mayweather for being a cheapshot artist and the referee for screwing it up, there’s no medals on Victor Ortiz either.”
On Donaire’s future:
“After this fight, if he’s successful, he’s going to go up to 122, and there’s a number of fighters he can fight — Arce, and he can fight the winner of [the WBA junior featherweight title bout between] Guillermo Rigondeaux and Ramos, which will be on this card [Dec. 3.]
After Gamboa fights as a lightweight, Donaire will be coming up to lightweight. I think they can fight at lightweight. About a year and a half will be good. Sometime next year we’ll see Gamboa fight for the lightweight title, probably against Brandon Rios.”
On Donaire’s working with Conte:
“Given the past history, you have to believe that. He’d have to be really insane to f–k around with all the eyes on him, and he’s done prison time.”
On Madison Square Garden:
“The big factor is the cost. The unions. We’re working out a lot of these problems. You have to put Puerto Ricans in the Garden. You’re going to see something incredible on Dec. 3.
“We’re putting the Notre Dame kid, Mike Lee, on the card. The alumni association in New York, which has about 20,000 members, are going nuts.
“We expect that if the tickets remain, to sell a couple thousand tickets to that group. [Pawel] Wolak will bring in a lot of Poles. The pre-sale on this fight is the biggest in the history of Madison Square Garden.
“This is Roy Jones, [Felix] Trinidad, Cotto. Ticket sales opening today, we already have $1.2 million in the box office. That’s amazing. I was pleasantly surprised.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org