Robert Arum (born December 8, 1931) is an American lawyer, boxing promoter and businessman. He is the founder and CEO of Top Rank, a professional boxing promotion company based in Las Vegas. He also worked for the US Attorney's Office for the southern district of New York in the tax division during his legal career before moving into boxing promotion.
December 8, 1931 |
New York City, New York, United States
|Education||B.A. New York University
J.D. Harvard Law School
|Occupation||Lawyer, boxing promoter, businessman|
Arum was born in New York City. He grew up in the Crown Heights section of New York, with an Orthodox Jewish background. He attended Erasmus Hall High School, New York University, and Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude. He worked as an attorney in the United States Department of Justice and had little interest in boxing until 1965. He used his education and business savvy to become a boxing promoter, notably for Muhammad Ali, and during the 1980s became a driving force behind the sport, rivaling Don King. Arum organized superfights like Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Durán and Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns.
Arum mounted the Hagler-John Mugabi, Hearns-James Shuler doubleheader in Las Vegas on 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. Ten days later, Shuler was dead in an unfortunate motorcycle accident.
Some of Arum's superstars from the 1990s include former world flyweight champion Michael Carbajal and six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya and current boxing superstars includes eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and three-division world champion Erik Morales. Arum promoted the legendary champion Julio Cesar Chavez in his late 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 had great success with fighters such as Miguel Cotto, who has won world titles at the 140, 147, 154, 160-pound weight divisions, and Antonio Margarito, who held a 147-pound WBO belt from 2002–2007.
He has concentrated many of his shows in the Southwestern portion of the U.S., in cities with large Spanish-speaking populations. He's also the promoter of many of the cards on Telefutura, a Spanish language network.
Arum is a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame. He is married with a son, daughter, step-son and step-daughter.
While working as a boxing promoter, Arum had been involved in many feuds and controversies.
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 withdrew his fighters as no purses were forthcoming. John Daly blamed Arum when he said, "I've tried desperately to convince my partners to keep the faith. I offered them as much security as I could but it was not quite good enough. It seems I was ready to take the shots, but Mr Arum wasn't."
He has been involved in a forty-year feud with Don King, who called him a "rat fink" in 2000 for admitting during a federal trial that he bribed the International Boxing Federation president in order to gain a more favorable rating for one of his fighters.
He was penalized $125,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 1995 for a bribe to get one of his fights sanctioned.
In 2003, Arum complained about the 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.
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 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 that it was investigating some of Eric Esch's fights, as well as the Jorge Páez-Verdell Smith fight. The investigation closed in the summer of 2006 with no charges being filed.
In 2007, Floyd Mayweather Jr., whom Arum promoted from 1996–2006, accused him of both underpaying and undermarketing him while exploiting his talents and manipulating officials.
In 2007, UFC president Dana White accused him of "sucking the life out of the sport (boxing) and not putting anything back in." Amongst White's criticisms were that Arum had created a weak undercard for the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight in 2007 saying Arum did not promote the show correctly. "He promoted that show completely the wrong way, because he worried about the money as opposed to trying to secure the future", White said. "He should have stacked that card. He should have had Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins and (Marco Antonio) Barrera and Winky Wright on there and used it to show that boxing is back". Arum responded by saying that MMA fighters need to examine the revenues being generated and ask why the UFC wasn't paying them more.
Arum also 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 Floyd Mayweather Jr. 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." 
In 2009, Arum defended Antonio Margarito when he lost his boxing license in the US state of California on charges of illegal hand wraps, 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 late-2009, Arum called UFC fans "skinhead white guys". Bas Rutten accused him of racism for this remark. Arum also stated that MMA fighters are "guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground." Earlier in the year, Arum described UFC President Dana White as "nuts" and "a little too much of a loose cannon" for White's use of a gay slur in reference to an MMA reporter.
Arum is Jewish. He has been married twice. He had three children with his first wife: Richard, Elizabeth, and John. His son John died in 2010 during a hiking accident. In 1991, he married Lovee Duboef with whom he has two stepchildren; Todd Duboef, President of Top Rank and Dena DuBoef, Vice President of Top Rank. Bob is a close friend and business partner of billionaire casino tycoon, and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Sheldon Adelson. As a former backup singer during his college days, Arum has a deep interest in music. He has declared Manny Pacquiao to be the "Filipino Frank Sinatra".
- Gurock, Jeffrey S. Judaism's Encounter with American Sports. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2005. Print. p 159.
- Ziegel, Vic. "And in This Corner... Robert Arum." New York Magazine 28 Aug. 1978: 51.
- 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."
- 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. Independent.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- "Honor among thieves? – Boxing – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "Sworn foes Arum, King unite". Press-Telegram. Archived from the original on 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "BBC SPORT | Boxing | Arum's apology is accepted". BBC News. 2003-10-15. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "MMA enjoying its success – Boxing – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "DIGG IT!". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2007-08-12.. boxing.typepad.com. February 2007
- Greg Bishop A Major Fight, and It’s Not on HBO? Times Are Changing for Big Promoters. NY Times. May 6, 2011
- Lance Pugmire"Bob Arum leaves 'em laughing – and reporters crying". Archived from the original on 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2009-02-22. LA Times.
- "Bas Rutten fires back at Bob Arum". YouTube. 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Ariel Helwani %BloggerTitle% (2009-09-11). "Bob Arum Blasts Floyd Mayweather, MMA". Boxing.fanhouse.com. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "Boxing Promoter Bob Arum disses UFC President Dana White". Doghouseboxing.com. 2009-04-04. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- 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
- Seconds Out Boxing News: "Todd DuBoef and the Future of Boxing" By Thomas Hauser retrieved June 9, 2015
- New York Times: "Son Missing, Arum Skips Promotion" By RICHARD SANDOMIR September 1, 2010
- "Boxing promoter Bob Arum: MGM disrespected my fighters". USA Today.
- Greg Bishop [@GregBishopSI] (14 March 2010). "In land of overstatement, ie boxing, Bob Arum just called #Pacquiao the "Filipino version of Frank Sinatra." Sometimes when we touch .." (Tweet) – via Twitter.