No, by no means is he beloved across the board. Bob Arum has his fair share of detractors among the pundit and fan class. But one must admit, or should admit, if one wants to lay claim to being an intellectually consistent sort, the man has to get credit for a couple things.
One, he is 87 years old and he still cares immensely about the business he’s in, to the point that he’s in his seat, watching his prospects do their thing at the arena, when he could but of course be elsewhere, hobbnobbing, or sipping a Mai Tai on a hammock, or whatever the heck else he wanted to do.
Two, he still sees the positives in this business, which can, if you let it, get you feeling less than sunny about its prospects and in fact its reason for being.
I had these elements in mind as I chatted with Arum on the latest Everlast “Talkbox” podcast, and as we talked about the victory achieved by 33 year old Jamel Herring, in Florida on Saturday, over Masayuki Ito. Herring, the Fighting Marine, out of Coram, Long Island, NY, won a 130 pound crown off the Japanese boxer and Arum was front and center and obviously pleased when Herring had his hand raised after his ESPN outing.
“First of all, he’s an excellent, excellent young man,” Arum related. “He’s been through hell, those two tours of duty he had in Iraq were really something. Riding on these Humvees, on top of them, he was waiting to be a casualty, it’s so dangerous…he came through that. He was captain of the US Olympic boxing team and originally as a pro, he started slowly. But he had the grit and determination that carried him throught those tough times in the Marines. And I couldn’t have felt more satisfaction, when he won that title. And I’ve had years…Everybody who knew the story and knew the young man was rooting for him.”
So, next for Herring might be what? “I really like to operate I don’t want to do anything for two weeks. Let it sink in. I know he’s scheduled to be on Good Morning America, it’s real feel good story, his victory. Then I’ll sit down with him, and Bomac, and discuss what his next fight will be. It will certainly be no later than the fall, whether it’s September or October, that remains to be seen. Whether it’s a regular title defense or a unification, that remains to be seen. As you saw, Miguel Berchelt (age 27; 36-1; holds WBC 130 strap, last fought May 11, beat Francisco Vargas), who’s an excellent one hundred thirty pounder, was at ringside, and he’s up for the unification. So let’s see, two weeks, then sit down and make a decision.”