LAS VEGAS – Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he would not hesitate to work with rapper 50 Cent (aka, Curtis Jackson) in promotional ventures if his advice was sought, his comments coming in the wake of news that Manny Pacquiao and his advisor, Michael Koncz, could meet as early as Friday concerning a joint promotional partnership.
“Absolutely. Obviously, I have this whole background of mine in boxing,” said Arum, who is in Las Vegas promoting Saturday night’s HBO-televised middleweight clash between RING champion Sergio Martinez and WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
“Now, [Jackson's'] background is in other businesses — music. And if he needs any advice about boxing from me, I’m happy to give it to him.”
Jackson is attempting to become a promoter in the wake of having launched TMT (“The Money Team”) Promotions initially with Floyd Mayweather Jr., although the future of that company as well as his union with Mayweather could be in question.
Jackson already has obtained a promotional license in New York, according to New York State Athletic Commission director Melvina Lathan, and has applied for one in Nevada, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer.
Arum has said that he believes that Jackson’s presence could boost the sport of boxing in the African American community in similar fashion to how Top Rank has for Latino boxers such as Chavez Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
“Now, I think that he could be a real plus for the sport, because he’s been such a successful businessman, and because of his rapper background. He can help attract a new, loyal audience to the sport,” said Arum, who also promotes Pacquiao.
“It’s all well and good for the sport to be survived based on the Hispanic element and the audience that we have there. But if we could broaden the base, that would be good for the sport. And if he could broaden it within the urban community, than that’s a plus for everybody. Of course, I would be happy to help him with whatever boxing knowledge he would need from me.”
In the meantime, a deal was struck on Wednesday for Pacquiao to face Marquez in a fourth bout at the MGM Grand on Dec. 8. Pacquiao is scheduled to be in Los Angeles on Friday, and also has a Sunday for an appearance on a game show, Manny Many Prizes.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) chose Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) over a rematch with Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), who defeated Pacquiao by controversial split-decision in June for the WBO’s 147-pound belt, ending Pacquiao’s 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
Marquez lost in November to Pacquiao, who was the official winner by majority decision. Pacquiao also has a draw against Marquez as well as another split-decision victory over him.
Bradley is targeting a defense in November or December at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org