Robert Arum (born December 8, 1931[1]) is an American lawyer and boxing promoter. He is the founder and CEO of Top Rank, a professional boxing promotion company based in Las Vegas. Prior to becoming a boxing promoter, Arum was employed as an attorney in the tax division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Bob Arum
Arum at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, April 18, 2010
Born (1931-12-08) December 8, 1931 (age 91)
Occupation(s)Lawyer, boxing promoter, businessman
Years active1980–present
Lovee duBoef
(m. 1991)

Background and early life edit

Bob Arum in 2010

Arum was born in New York City. He grew up in the Crown Heights section of New York, with an Orthodox Jewish background.[2]

Education and legal career edit

He attended Erasmus Hall High School, New York University, then Harvard Law School with fellow students recalled as "snooty guys from the prep schools and the eating clubs,"[3] where he was graduated cum laude.[4] He worked as an attorney in the United States Department of Justice during the Kennedy administration, and had little interest in boxing until 1965.[5]

Following the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy and his Justice Department service under Robert F. Kennedy; Arum joined Wall Street law firm Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon, where he researched Kennedy's assassination for senior partner Louis Nizer, author of the foreword to the Warren Commission Report.[6]

Following the 1963 suicide of Washington Heights Savings and Loan Association president Floyd Cramer, hours after his indictment for being the "mastermind" of a mortgage tax-evasion scheme; Arum recalled, "I knew then that I wasn't cut out to be a prosecutor." Arum continued to practice civil law until dissolving his office in 1979.[7]

Boxing promoter edit

In 1962, Arum was assigned by the Department of Justice to confiscate proceeds from the September 25, 1962 Sonny Liston vs. Floyd Patterson world heavyweight boxing title fight;[1] during which he met closed-circuit television (CCTV) pioneer and former Leo Burnett & Co. vice-president Lester M. Malitz (1907 – July 24, 1965) of Lester M. Malitz Inc.[8] Malitz was the promoter of the 1965 Terrell–Chuvalo bout, during which he retained Arum to represent him. In 1966, subsequent to a suggestion by Jim Brown, whom Arum had secured for Malitz as the fight's announcer,[9] Arum became a boxing promoter. In 2016, Brown recalled that Arum had seen a televised fight in 1965, as "The first fight Arum ever saw was TerrellChuvalo, and he watched that from the television truck."[10] Arum credits Brown with introducing him to Muhammad Ali, and Ali with teaching him how to be a boxing promoter.[11]

Arum became a vice-president and secretary of Ali's promotion company, Main Bout. Mike Malitz, son of Lester, like Arum, owned 20 percent of the company and became its vice-president. Jim Brown owned 10 percent of the company and served as its vice-president in charge of publicity.[12] Referencing his first live fight viewing, Arum was reported as saying that he "had never seen a boxing match before the first fight I did with Ali", referring to the 1966 Muhammad Ali vs. George Chuvalo Vancouver bout.[13]

During the 1980s, Arum became a driving force behind the sport, rivaling Don King. Arum organized superfights including Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Durán and Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns. Arum mounted the Hagler–John Mugabi, Hearns–James Shuler doubleheader in Las Vegas in April, 1986. After the Hearns–Shuler fight, Shuler, who had lost by knockout in the first round, showed up at Arum's hotel room to thank him for the opportunity to fight Hearns.[citation needed] ten days after that bout, Shuler died in a motorcycle accident.[14]

Arum kept producing big-scale undercards and superfights, including the HaglerSugar Ray Leonard bout, the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns 1989 rematch, Evander Holyfield vs. George Foreman, and many others. Some of Arum's superstars from the 1990s include former world flyweight champion Michael Carbajal, six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, and three-division world champion Erik Morales. Arum also promoted the legendary champion Julio César Chávez in his later years of boxing.

Arum has concentrated largely on promoting Hispanic fighters in recent years, citing surveys which show boxing is among the most popular sports within the Hispanic community. He has concentrated many of his shows in the Southwestern portion of the U.S., in cities with large Spanish-speaking populations. He is also the promoter of many of the cards on Telefutura, a Spanish language network. He has had great success with Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, who won world titles at the 140, 147, 154, 160-pound weight divisions; Mexican-American Antonio Margarito, who held a 147-pound WBO belt from 2002 to 2007; Mexican-American José Ramírez, the former WBC and WBO light welterweight world champion; Honduran-American Teófimo López, the former lightweight world champion; and Mexican Óscar Valdez, the former WBC super featherweight world champion.

Arum was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1999. In 2003 he was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[15]

Controversies edit

As a boxing promoter, Arum had been involved in many spats and controversies, including a 40-year feud with Don King,[16][17] with whom he has co-promoted several fights.[18] UFC president Dana White has also been a vocal critic and the two have engaged in a protracted and acerbic public feud;[19][20][21] in 2018, White briefly became a rival boxing promoter.[22]

In 1994, he was involved with John Daly for the High Noon in Hong Kong boxing event. The fights were called off at the last minute when Barry Hearn scuttled the bout by withdrawing his fighters, when no purses were forthcoming from Top Rank.[23]

In 2000, citing extortion, Arum voluntarily testified to having paid IBF president Robert W. "Bobby" Lee Sr. $100,000 in two installments in 1995, as the first half of a $200,000 bribe, through "middleman, Stanley Hoffman", adding that Lee had first demanded $500,000 to approve the Schulz–Foreman fight but had settled for the lesser amount of $200,000 (half of which was never paid).[24] Lee was indicted for racketeering in 1999, but convicted of money laundering and tax evasion in 2000. Following his testimony, Arum was sanctioned and fined $125,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.[25] Boxing promoters Cedric Kushner and Dino Duva also admitted to making similar payments to Lee.[25]

Oscar De La Hoya successfully sued Arum and was legally released from his contract with Top Rank in January 2001.[26][27] Following years of acrimony; he and De La Hoya publicly salvaged their relationship.[28]

In 2003, Arum complained about judging in the September 13 bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Shane Mosley and suggested there was a vendetta against him from a member of the Nevada State Commission that led to De La Hoya's loss. Arum later made an apology for the remark which commission chairman Luther Mack accepted.[29]

In the first week of January 2004, FBI agents raided Arum's Top Rank office in Las Vegas. Arum was on vacation when his office was raided and the FBI originally declined to comment on the raid. The news media reported that the FBI was investigating allegations that Top Rank was involved in fixing the rematch between De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, even though De La Hoya lost and Arum was De La Hoya's promoter. The federal agency also announced it was investigating some of Eric Esch's fights, as well as the Jorge PáezVerdell Smith fight. The investigation closed in the summer of 2006 with no charges being filed.

In 2007, Yahoo Sports reported that, "Floyd Mayweather Jr. essentially accused Arum, who promoted him from the beginning of his career in 1996 until 2006, of underpaying him, exploiting his talents and manipulating officials."[16] Mayweather, who also became a boxing promoter, stated to Yahoo Sports in 2015, "I don't have anything bad to say about Bob Arum."[30]

Arum filed a lawsuit against HBO for overstepping its boundaries in the sport by becoming a de facto promoter while trying to intentionally eliminate him as a promoter. Arum complained that HBO dropped Mayweather from his exclusive deal after he insisted his fighter have a tougher bout than the network wanted. The suit was settled out of court but Arum continued to criticize HBO by saying "Instead of working with promoters, like they have done in the past, they have become promoters themselves. They make the fights just like promoters and pay fighters", Arum said. "It's their money and they can do what they want but Don King doesn't have to go along with it and neither do I. King and I can get along without HBO or Showtime ... The problem HBO Sports got into is they became defenders of the status quo. They held you back because they had control."[31]

In 2009, Arum defended Antonio Margarito when he lost his boxing license in the US state of California on charges of illegal hand wraps,[32] implied it was racially motivated and stated that Top Rank would not come back to the state of California until the issue was rectified.

In 2009, Arum was accused of racism by Bas Rutten, for calling UFC fans "skinhead white guys."[33]

In 2020, Arum stated that one of his top boxers, Terence Crawford should also start promoting himself better. He compared his situation with several other greats in the sport. Arum stated he could have built a house in Beverly Hills with the money he lost on Crawford's last three fights.[34] Crawford did not take this lightly, responding through numerous media outlets showing his disappointment towards Arum's comments. In January 2022, Crawford sued Arum for racial bias and for the money he lost by not being promoted well enough.[35]

Personal life edit

Arum has been married twice. He had three children with his first wife: Richard, Elizabeth, and John.[36] His son, environmental lawyer John Arum (1961–2010), fell to his death in 2010 while climbing the north face of Storm King, a mountain in North Cascades National Park; he is most remembered for his meticulous representation of Native American tribal rights.[37]

In 1991, he married Lovee duBoef[38] with whom he has two stepchildren; Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank[39] and Dena duBoef, vice president of Top Rank.[40] Arum was a close friend and business partner of the late billionaire casino tycoon, and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Sheldon Adelson.[41][42]

Arum endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[43]

Cannabis advocate edit

Arum, who appeared as corrupt DEA agent, "Stokes", in the 1975 film, The Marijuana Affair, at the behest of his friend, Jamaican-born boxing promoter, filmmaker, bookie, and horse-racing aficionado Lucien Chen (June 6, 1928 – December 16, 2015), has advocated for the decriminalization of cannabis; and, in a 2017 interview, stated that he had started smoking it in 1966, declaring, "Cannabis is good for you! It's these damn people during the Nixon administration that really put cannabis into the position where it was a drug like heroin and cocaine and that was wrong" and adding that "in a lot of ways, marijuana is better for the athlete as pain medication than the drugs.”[44] In a 2017 VICE interview (which erroneously reports film producer Chen as Shen); Arum was also quoted as saying, "I think the NFL is gonna revise its policy on marijuana and I think everybody should. It was the Nixon administration that demonized marijuana, to the real harm of a lot of people, particularly people who have terminal cancer. Marijuana can be a very therapeutic thing."[45]

Film and television edit

Arum has appeared on several television documentaries, boxing specials, movies and shows, usually being interviewed about a boxer or fight but occasionally as an actor himself, including in Play It To The Bone (where he played a boxing fan) and Arliss.[46]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b IBHOF "Bob Arum", International Boxing Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  2. ^ Gurock, Jeffrey S. Judaism's Encounter with American Sports. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2005. Print. p 159.
  3. ^ Mulamud, Allan "Arum Unique at Reunion of His Harvard Law Class", Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1996. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Ziegel, Vic. "And in This Corner... Robert Arum." New York Magazine 28 Aug. 1978: 51.
  5. ^ Berkow, Ira. "ARUM IS PROVEN RINGMASTER", The New York Times, April 7, 1987. Accessed December 3, 2007. "Why not? After five months since the signing for the fight, the man who came from Brooklyn, who went to Erasmus Hall High School, New York University and Harvard Law School, and who worked as a taxation expert on Wall Street, for the District Attorney's office in New York City, in the Justice Department during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, and who until 1965 had no interest in boxing– in two guys clubbing each other over the head –was about to make a profit for himself of somewhere between $3 million and $6 million."
  6. ^ Iole, Kevin "Boxing promoter Bob Arum thinks JFK was assassinated on behalf of Fidel Castro", Yahoo Sports, November 18, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  7. ^ Mannix, Chris "Arum, one of boxing's most powerful promoters, still hustling", Sports illustrated, December 5, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "THE BUSINESSWEEKLY OF TELEVISION AND RADIO. Agencies see photo finish in network rating race. p. 29 – PDF".
  9. ^ Hauser, Thomas Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, Open Road Media, 2012, page 145. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  10. ^ Iole, Kevin "How NFL legend Jim Brown pushed Bob Arum into boxing promotion", Yahoo! Sports, March 28, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Logan, Greg "Boxing promoter Bob Arum recalls Muhammad Ali's courage", Newsday, June 9, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  12. ^ Ezra, Michael (2013). The Economic Civil Rights Movement: African Americans and the Struggle for Economic Power. Routledge. p. 105. ISBN 9781136274756.
  13. ^ Mannix, Chris "Arum, one of boxing's most powerful promoters, still hustling", Sports Illustrated, December 5, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  14. ^ "Shuler, Ex-Champion, Killed in Road Accident". The New York Times. 21 March 1986.
  15. ^ "Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Home".
  16. ^ a b Kevin Iole (2017-08-11). "Honor among thieves? – Boxing – Yahoo! Sports". Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  17. ^ "Sworn foes Arum, King unite". Press-Telegram. Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  18. ^ Boxing Insider, Romero, Bryant "Bob Arum and Don King Renew Old Rivalry", March 15, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "MMA enjoying its success – Boxing – Yahoo! Sports". 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  20. ^ "DIGG IT!". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2007-08-12. February 2007
  21. ^ "Boxing Promoter Bob Arum disses UFC President Dana White". 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  22. ^ Doran, Niall "UFC president turned new boxing promoter Dana White is still sussing out the boxing landscape but has not been afraid to take a dig at two of the sport's biggest promoters", Boxing News and Views, May 29, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  23. ^ Mullan, Harry. (1994-10-24) Boxing: Everybody blames each other for fight fiasco: High Noon in Hong Kong promised much but delivered only grief, as Harry Mullan discovered. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
  24. ^ MCKINLEY, JAMES C. JR. "Arum Gives Description Of Payments to I.B.F.", The New York Times, June 7, 2000. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Springer, Steve "Settlement Approved in Arum Case", Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2000.
  26. ^ Nidetz, Stephen "De La Hoya Wins Court Ruling Over Arum", Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  27. ^ Springer, Steve "All Systems Go for De La Hoya", June 23, 2001. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  28. ^ Dixon, Tris "Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum bury the hatchet", Boxing News, December 12, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "BBC SPORT | Boxing | Arum's apology is accepted". BBC News. 2003-10-15. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  30. ^ Iole, Kevin Yahoo Sports, April 29, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  31. ^ Greg Bishop A Major Fight, and It’s Not on HBO? Times Are Changing for Big Promoters. The New York Times. May 6, 2011
  32. ^ Lance Pugmire"Bob Arum leaves 'em laughing – and reporters crying". Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2009-02-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Los Angeles Times.
  33. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Bas Rutten fires back at Bob Arum". Inside MMA via YouTube. 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  34. ^ Sarkar, Raj (2020-11-16). "Bob Arum Furious With Terence Crawford: "I Ain't Going Bankrupt Promoting Him"". EssentiallySports. Retrieved 2020-12-04.
  35. ^ "Crawford sues Top Rank, alleges Arum racial bias". 2022-01-12. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  36. ^ Los Angeles Times: "The toughest time for Bob Arum – Boxing promoter suffers through the death of his mountain-climbing son" by T. J. Simers October 23, 2010
  37. ^ "Body of Arum's son found; 300-foot fall evident". 4 September 2010.
  38. ^ Seconds Out Boxing News: "Todd DuBoef and the Future of Boxing" By Thomas Hauser retrieved June 9, 2015
  39. ^ "The Ring – The Bible of Boxing – News, Videos, Events and Ratings". The Ring.
  40. ^ New York Times: "Son Missing, Arum Skips Promotion" By RICHARD SANDOMIR September 1, 2010
  41. ^ "Boxing promoter Bob Arum: MGM disrespected my fighters". USA Today.
  42. ^ INVESTIGATE WEST "A LESSON ON HOW TO LIVE A LIFE: JOHN ARUM, 1961–2010", INVESTIGATE, October 4, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  43. ^ Reyes, L. Digital Journal August 3, 2016.
  44. ^ Campbell, Brian "Bob Arum credits marijuana as the secret to his longevity for 50 years in boxing — The Top Rank chairman, one week shy of turning 86, spoke out on the benefits of cannabis", CBS, November 30, 2017. July 27, 2018.
  45. ^ Erdman, Corey "HOW BOB ARUM WOUND UP IN ‘THE MARIJUANA AFFAIR,’ A 70S MOVIE ABOUT WEED", FIGHTLAND BLOG, VICE, April 20, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  46. ^ Bob Arum at IMDb

External links edit