Top Rank CEO Bob Arum sat five feet away from Terence Crawford on Thursday, at Madison Square Garden, and stated he was reasonably optimistic that Amir Khan will sign a contract to fight the Nebraska boxer.
Before the Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jose Pedraza press conference unfurled at MSG, Arum said he is reasonably confident that Khan vs. Crawford can get made.
“Obviously we want the best possible opponent and hopefully we’ll be able to conclude a deal with Amir Khan and do a pay-per-view show,” said Arum. “Based on what Amir Khan has told me, yeah, but until it’s signed and sealed, we don’t know.”
April would be the target month for that one, he said.
Ten feet away was Lomachenko, talking to media. He said that if things go smoothly, we will see the winner of the Richard Commey vs. Isa Chaniev scrap on February 2 (in support of Eleider Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev II) available to battle the Ukrainian.
Should Lomachenko defeat the current WBO lightweight titleholder, that would mean another belt for The Ring Magazine/WBA champion and then, maybe they can get IBF/WBC titlist Mikey Garcia to battle “Loma” in the summer time. “We’d certainly like to unify all four titles with Mikey,” said Arum, who turns 87 on Saturday.
More tidbits: I asked Arum about others on the Saturday at the MSG Theater. Does he see anyone who could challenge the 11-1 Loma?
“Teofimo Lopez is really young but he’s very ambitious. There may be no holding him back, wants to fight Loma tomorrow. I don’t think that’s a smart thing. You talk to him; you talk to the father. He’d fight him Saturday night.”
Other material: Arum took the time to laud Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who won the WBC light heavyweight title against Adonis Stevenson last weekend. He said Gvozdyk is the smartest boxer he’s ever promoted, from an IQ standpoint. “Intellectually brilliant,” Arum noted. They talk everything, politics, all of it, and he pointed to “The Nail” as someone on whom we’ll be focusing much more in 2019. “He’s going to be here for Loma’s fight; you ask him,” Arum said.
Bonus Bob…”The U.K. is a secondary market to the U.S.,” Arum continued and that was shown again on Saturday. The Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight grossed more here than they would in the U.K. and, “(IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight beltholder) Anthony Joshua is not known in the United States. Wilder and Fury will do much better fighting in the U.S. If the rematch takes place in New York, it would be the hottest ticket going. New York has always been a heavyweight town; California has always been a non-heavyweight ‘town.’ They had a lot of tickets that they gave away for Wilder vs. Fury but in New York, it would be a dynamite ticket.”
More Arum verbal gold: The promoter isn’t in a sentimental mode about HBO’s final show. Undisputed female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus headlines the final card and Arum said the demise of the program lies at the feet of the boxing boss Peter Nelson.
However I noted, Nelson’s budget was cut to shreds.
OK, Bob agreed but he didn’t agree with the groceries Nelson bought with the funds available. “HBO’s going out with a whimper. It’s sad but they got what they deserve,” he said because the wrong leadership was chosen. “He was unqualified,” Arum said of Nelson, who came off the journalism racks. “There was still a way to handle it: Go out with dignity. Go out with dignity for the sport.Go out with dignity…and they didn’t. They went out like pussies!”
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