Bob Arum Interview on Top Rank: Lomachenko vs Lopez
Matt Striker: October the 17th. The man joining me now is a man that many FITE fans around the world owe a debt of gratitude to you, sir, you're bringing us this fight, you brought up so many countless wonderful bouts. Mr. Bob Arum from Top Rank Boxing first and foremost Thank you for joining us. And how are you feeling?
Bob Arum: I'm feeling great. I'm really its tremendous anticipation. Last Friday, I visited Loma and his training camp. I've been talking to Teofimo, every other day. Both of these guys are ready. This should be a classic match, that will be remembered for years and decades to come.
Matt Striker: So many people agree with you. There are a pundits all around the world, not just in sports, not just in boxing, saying that this particular fight will quote-unquote "Save the sport not only in the US but also in the UK and internationally."
Can you speak to that, a little bit, please?
Bob Arum: Well, you know, save the sport that's a little bit like a Trump being a type of statement. I wouldn't make that. I mean, it's certainly gonna help the sport. There is no question that boxing needs a fight like this presented all around the world. People, they're just gonna love it. They are going to talk about this fight for months and years to come and that can only help the sport.
Matt Striker: Sir, you have been a part of some great events. I mean, if this is a Far Cry from Ali - Norton, but the big change here is the way we consume our media now and you've had some choice words to say about some providers and promoters in the UK, but I feel like you're speaking from the fans point of view. You don't want the fans to be robbed any longer, do you?
Bob Arum: No. It would have been a tragedy for this fight. Not to have been seen by people, fight fans in the UK. Thanks to the FITE Streaming Service. They'll be able to watch this fight because it's so memorable. I mean, I remember years ago when we were doing Ali fights and the fights went on in the early hours in the morning and fight fans all over the UK tuned in and when marvelous Marvin Hagler and Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran did their fights. They were millions of people in the UK watching those fights and for this fight not to have had an audience in the UK would have been disgraceful. But of course, Thanks to the FITE people, that's not gonna happen. People will be able to watch this fight.
Matt Striker: Strong words used there. But you are adamant in your fight to make sure that 100% of the UK can see this fight via reasonable avenue. And this is something you've been discussing in media, how it's gone from close captioning to network television back and forth. But at the end of the day, the fans are gonna win with this particular fight. So with all that out of the way nuts and bolts here, Loma has 14 wins 10 knockouts. That's a 71% success rate. Whereas Teofimo, who we've watched grow on Top Rank broadcast, I personally watch it. It's been such a thrill. 15 wins, 12 knockouts. That's an 80% chance of victory there. Your thoughts on what does Lopez needs to do for the world to truly know his name?
Bob Arum: Lopez has got to find the key to unlock the best technical fighter that I've seen since Muhammad Ali. I mean, Lomachenko is a genius in that ring, his footwork, his ability to use distance to his advantage. I've never seen anything like that since the early Ali, the Ali before he lost those three and a half years. Lopez is a tremendous talent. He hits like a son of a gun. He's very, very confident. But the question is, can he find the key to unlock the Enigma, that's Lomachenko? And we'll see, Saturday or Sunday here in the UK.
Matt Striker: You're one of the first mega media moguls to allow a place like FITE to feature all of Top Rank. We have a huge library here on FITE. Fans could go back and watch all that stuff. And it has occurred to me that in your time here in the sport, you truly understand what it means to not only be in the captain's seat but also being in the fans seat as well, yes?
Bob Arum: I experience in the 55 years that I've been in the sport with technological changes. So I remember when I first started with Muhammad Ali, we'd have to speed a tape of the fight to the airport to get it to London so they could show it the next night and if we miss the plane, we would be deducted 50% of the rights, for me, so that was the whole about. We don't wanna miss the plane. And then we distributed in the United States on closed circuit television. Then, when Roone Arledge stepped up to the bat and he gave us the money to do the third Ali-Spinks fight in New Orleans. We didn't do it on closed circuit television. 90 million people in the United States watched it, was record about 20 years, ratings record, and then from closed circuit we went to Pay Per View and now the new revolution it changes all the time, and that's streaming. I mean, whether it's entertainment with Netflix and Disney Plus or it's sports now with FITE and with ESPN+ that is the future - streaming. And that's why, uh, television as we know it is on the downslide and more and more people are watching entertainment sports on streaming. And so now again, after 55 years, I'm on the top of the new way that people will be watching sports.
Matt Striker: Can you give us some life advice? What have you gleaned in the past X amount of years, you've been walking on God's great greener?
Bob Arum: Embrace change! Don't forget the great stuff that went before, the great fighters, the great promoters, the great events! But don't keep looking back, always look ahead! That's the advice that would give to anybody who is interested in a career, in television and in business.
Matt Striker: Mr. Bob Arum, truly a national treasure. Thank you so much. We thank you again for what's coming ahead of us. October 17th here in the States, October 18th in the UK. It is Lomachenko vs Lopez. Now, fans know that Campbell showed that Lomachenko can be hurt. Will Lopez show that Lomachenko can be replaced? We'll find out. Once again Thank you so much to Bob Arum on behalf of everyone at Top Rank. Everyone here on FITE. My name is Matt Striker. All the talking is done. There's only one thing left to do - that's fight!
Bob Arum: Tune in and Watch it!