Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum was smiling all the time and rarely talked as he sat at the center of the panel in the post fight media interview for the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 fight, allowing his new prized ward, the victor Tyson Fury to bask in all the glory as he did with Muhammad Ali five decades ago.
Arum could have been in silent ecstasy. It has been so long since the heavyweight division has seen a fighter like Tyson Fury who can hold the attention of the audience both inside and outside the ring with his boxing master class and gift of gab, with a touch of proud eccentricity.
The octogenarian Hall of Fame promoter must have felt like he has found his new Muhammad Ali in Tyson Fury in the way the British heavyweight giant known as the Gypsy King handled Deontay Wilder in their much awaited rematch and he handled the media interview afterwards.
Very few heavyweight stars could sell fights as easily as Ali did in his heydays employing his charismatic or divisive character depending on how one viewed him, his intelligent and witty eloquence and absolute ring brilliance.
In that post fight talk with media, Fury, wearing just a printed coat and a tie to cover his naked body and showing none of the signs that he had just gone through a grueling seven rounds with the most dreaded puncher since Mike Tyson, fielded and answered all questions like a seasoned moderator and public speaker rolled into one, where his depth, intelligence and wit showed.
For instance, when asked if he thought referee Kenny Bayless constant interruption affected his momentum, Fury replied that the man had a job to do and he thought that Bayless did his job fairly although to even a neutral casual fan, that was too much interference that helped Wilder out of queer street.
That was class on his part.
Arum readily recognized that as he kept himself to occasional commentary in support of what Fury contended in his response, and only if asked.
With Fury’s brilliant victory that netted him the WBC heavyweight title while confirming his status as the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Arum is now back as a major power broker and king maker not only in the division but the whole of boxing, something he shared only with Don King back in 70s.
It may not overstatement to say that the sky is the limit for the Arum-Fury team moving forward.
The proceeds of the Wilder-Fury fight, particularly the pay-per-view numbers are still not in but the most conservative projection was that it could generate at least a million pay-per-view buys at $79.99 a pop. If that is realized, that would be a huge improvement from the 300,000 ppv buys generated by their first fight.
And undoubtedly, Arum was instrumental in generating greater interest in the second match. The promotion for the rematch included not just the advertising and mainstream media but also exposure during the recent Super Bowl 54 event. Shades of the old promotional wizardry of Arum.
Not since when he was successfully marketing Manny Pacquiao as a crossover global boxing superstar back in the mid to late 2000s and early last decade that we have seen such enthusiasm and fervor from Arum.
And we cannot fault the boxing old hand.
Since the departure of Pacquiao, Arum has progressed very little even with two of the best pound for pound fighters under his wings at Top Rank, Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford.
In tossing his lot with Fury which proved correct, Arum has suddenly a fighter on the cusp of being an even bigger star or a potential superstar depending on how both of them charter their course going forward from this fight.
The possibilities are mouth watering.
A bigger, higher earning and paying rubber-match between Fury and Wilder that could net both fighters more than the minimum $10 million they are guaranteed in the last fight.
This is highly possible given that the balance of power in the division has shifted to the UK and there will be a greater demand among American boxing fans for American redemption.
Many boxing experts on both side of the pond said that Wilder was not necessary exposed in his loss to Fury, citing that him fighting at his career heaviest at 231 lbs. could have harmed than helped him. Which was very possible as he had been very successful fighting below 220 lbs.since his pro debut.
There is also the all UK confrontation between Fury and Anthony Joshua, the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titleholder for all the marbles.
It is interesting to note that aside from Fury, Arum has signed up a number of top heavyweights at Top Rank including Kubrat Pulev, Oscar Rivas, Jarrel Miller, Agit Kabayel and Carlos Takam.