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Arum: “We are prepared to take risks” (FULL REPORT)
Nonito Donaire breaks down Omar Narvaez
Jerry Glick reporting: Bob Arum is a patient man. Some fights and fighters are worthy of pay-per-view status and others are not. He sees a time in the future when Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire will be a star with the power to demand PPV bucks, but Bob believes that it will happen in a few years, not yet; he’ll wait.
Arum has his criteria for a pay per view boxer. Some fighters and fights are better suited for HBO or another premium network, and some rise to the level where it is best shown on PPV.
“The first thing I do,” explained Arum at a press conference at famous Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Manhattan, “Is I figure out what the fighter’s demands are going to be. What their purse demands are going to be; and then I see if I’m going to be able to get that money covered by ShowTime or HBO. That’s the first step I make.”
He said that with a fighter who is at the level of a Pacquiao, he knows to skip that assessment step because he knows that that will not be covered by the networks. Arum is as astute at the promoting game as anyone. He added that to be a good promoter you need to be a risk taker. He pointed at Don King who has offered guarantees to fighters without a penny in his pocket.
“We are prepared to take risks,” said Arum adding that some promoters don’t take risks because they don’t have deep enough pockets to take the gamble that a risk entails.”
“Other fights that are marginal,” he continued, “I try to sell to a premium network. If I can’t and I feel that it’s a compelling fight that the fighters want and the fans want, I bite my tongue and do it on pay per view.”
Now that Top Rank has won the tug of war for Donaire’s services, he believes that the dynamic Donaire has too many opportunities at his weight and will be better off fighting on premium networks until things heat up to the point when he can best be promoted on PPV.
“Luckily at his weight division and where he is, there’s a lot of room there before you have to put him on pay per view. There’s a lot of building that can be done with him (on premium networks), so I’m not even thinking of Donaire as a pay per view guy.
“Ultimately if he’s built to a point where he becomes a pay per view attraction, of course, because then he can make a lot more money than he would on a premium network; but that’s way down the line, trust me. There are some great fights if Donaire holds up.”
On Saturday night the 28 year old Donaire, 26-1 (18 KOs), defends his WBC/WBO Bantamweight Championship against an unbeaten veteran champion from Argentina, former WBO Flyweight boss, now the WBO’s Super-flyweight champion, 36 year old undefeated, 35-0-2 (19 KOs), Omar Andres Narvaez, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, on HBO After Dark this Saturday, October 22.
**DONAIRE CAN BANG WITH THE BEST**
Watching WBC/WBO Bantamweight Champion Nonito Donaire hit the pads as he worked out for the media at Kingsway Gym in Manhattan a few days before the final press conference, made one think about which would be worse, bring punched by a 250 pound heavyweight or the 118 pound Donaire? Tough call; the big guys hit hard but generally do it slowly. Donaire’s punches, however, exploded on impact with his trainers pads. His power comes not from weight, but speed.
He knows that this is his big chance to move into super stardom. This is his debut in New York, and therefore his debut at the Garden as well. He knows what he must accomplish; not a “w”, but a “W”. He needs to impress and excite and he knows what he must do to get where he wants to be in boxing.
Donaire is a charming, funny, boxer/puncher who just happens to be a dynamic presence in the ring. He shadow boxed tossing lightning fast combination and did the same with the gloves on against the trainers pads. He was raised in the US but always a son of his birthplace, Talibon, Bohol, Philippines. He is proud of his heritage and of other great fighters to come from the Philippines including the great Manny Pacquiao and the all time great former Junior-Lightweight Champion of the World for seven years, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
His two most important wins, a second round destruction of Fernando Montiel, and a fifth round knockout of Vic Darchinyan, were both accomplished with the same counter-left hook that put the lights out for both former champions.
“I’ve trained for that hook for a long time,” said Donaire. “We knew to train for that hook for Darchinyan because he was open for that, as well as Montiel.”
He added that you cannot make a mistake against him. “If Narvaez gives me the opportunity with the left hook or even the straight (right), we’ll take him out with it,” added the Filipino Flash. “The thing about me is, if you make a mistake in front of me I’ll make you pay for it.”
He said that mistakes are the things that he tries to avoid making himself. “Same goes for me; minor mistakes are fine but not the big mistakes where he can counter me and take advantage of the situation.”
He admitted that he sees an opportunity in his opponent’s stance. “I didn’t watch his tapes but I believe that I can take advantage of the way he stands.”
They called the Ortiz-Mayweather fight Star Power, but it is Donaire who has that indefinable quality, and he expects to leave that Garden ring with all of his intact.
**BOB ARUM ON HOPKINS-DAWSON**
“That was supposed to be on premium network. It never should have been on pay per view,” said Arum about the Hopkins-Dawson fight. “I don’t blame the promoter on this. HBO had agreed on a very substantial license fee when they were doing all these crazy stupid deals. They woke up one day and said ‘We got no money.’ So what they did was flip it; they kept the license fee the same with the promoter and they hoped that the pay per view would ameliorate their expenses. That to me is f**ked up, but that’s what they did.”
He added that he does not blame a greedy promoter, but blames a dysfunctional network, “Because that is the case.”
**HAROLD LEDERMAN: SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NO DECISION**
Talking about Hopkins and Dawson (reports say it is now a draw and B-Hop is champ again), HBO’s Harold Lederman had a few things to add to the two round affair.
“If there was a foul,” observed the official HBO scorer, “It was accidental and happened in the heat of battle. The fight hadn’t gone four rounds, it should have been a no decision under the rules of the ABC, The Association of Boxing Commissions. You can’t take a man’s title based on something after a round and a half of boxing.”
Given the recent spate of less than perfect refereeing, (Mayweather-Ortiz, Mare-Agbeko, and now Hopkins-Dawson) Lederman has a suggestion; “We need more refereeing seminars,” he said.
He adds that officiating is becoming a young man’s game as some of the “best” are showing their age a bit.
HBO never did get that interview with referee Pat Russell. “We tried very hard,” said Harold.
**THE RAGING BULL**
Pawel Wolak isn’t called the Raging Bull for nothing. In his war, it wasn’t a fight, against Delvin Rodriguez; Wolak came forward against his taller opponent with the ferocity of a bull charging after a Matador. In many ways their encounter reminded this reporter of Ali-Frazier; the tall rangy boxer trying to create space between the opponent and himself, and the crouching, snorting aggressive Toro tossing bombs to body and head. Rodriguez did his best impression of Muhammad Ali and Wolak did Smokin’ Joe Frazier proud. What a fight. These two brave battlers will do it all again, not on this show but on Top Rank’s next extravaganza on December 3rd at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Cotto-Margarito.
He intends to make some changes in the rematch. First of all, he said he’s going to win this time; “That’s the first thing,’ said Wolak. “There will be changes made.”
Their first fight ended in a draw, but he will make changes in his fight plan to turn that “D” into a “W” in the rematch. “It was a learning experience,” he explained.
He believes that he has become a more skilled fighter since his loss to Ishe Smith back in 2008. “I fight smarter and I’m fighting better and better guys,” said the very popular Polish Jr. middleweight from Mount Arlington, New Jersey.
Wolak is the poster boy for blue collar fighters, he still works for a construction company and was happy that his wonderful boss, Adam Skarzynski, gave him ten paid weeks off to train for this important fight.