Legendary Top Rank promoter, Bob Arum, was on hand in Las Vegas to promote his upcoming Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz heavyweight fight this Saturday on ESPN+.
Arum who currently co-promotes Tyson Fury with Frank Warren, was doing a media round table answering questions about his fighters and the Fury-Schwarz fight.
When the topic of his former charge, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, came up and asked to give his opinion of Pacquiao’s WBA welterweight fight with the 30-year-old undefeated Keith “One Time” Thurman, Arum wasn’t very ecstatic about the match up, due to Manny’s age and decline.
“Look I love Manny Pacquiao.” said Arum. “I have a whole history with Manny Pacquiao, so when you ask me a question like that I’m really rooting for Manny Pacquiao. You gotta realize he’s 41 years of age and when a fighter who has been around so long, is past his late 30s and goes into his 40s he is not gonna be as good as he once was in his prime.”
Arum hopes Pacquiao wins but worries that he could get seriously hurt in the fight and doesn’t want him to get brain damage fighting these younger stronger champions like Thurman. Arum also showed concern earlier this year when asked about why he never made the Manny Pacquiao vs. Terence Crawford fight and he said he worried about Manny’s health in that match up.
“I wish him the best and hope he wins the fight, but I am concerned as I would for any fighter that when they get to a certain age they probably shouldn’t be fighting anymore. The doctors will tell you that the cranium as you get older thins out, so a guy who is younger gets hit the cranium absorbs the blows so it doesn’t affect the brain matter. When they get older the cranium is thinner and when they get hit it affects the brain. That would be the worst thing in the world if Manny Pacquiao suffered brain damage at this point.”
To make his point clear, Arum mentioned the recent scare Zab Judah had against Cletus Seldin that had Judah in the hospital over a brain bleed and the Adonis Stevenson vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk fight where Stevenson suffered major brain swelling and had to be hospitalized for months. Judah and Stevenson are in their 40’s and like Pacquiao both are explosive southpaw punchers.
“Zab Judah, he had bad habits but he was a terrific fighter.” said Arum. “Zab Judah is a perfect example of how dangerous it is for a guy to continue fighting into his forties. Go past the Zab Judah fight and look at Adonis Stevenson, 42 years old, he performed pretty good in the fight and in the last round took a beating from Oleksandr Gvozdyk and the referee did a good job. He (Stevenson) went through eleven rounds it was an even fight and then Gvozdyk got to him and knocked him out before the referee could stop the fight. And the poor guy (Stevenson) has spent what six or seven months in the hospital and thank God he has recovered a little bit, he’ll never be the same again. You got to really pay attention to that.”
Arum said that George Foreman was the exception to the rule when it came to a fighter being able to take punches in their 40s.
Manny Pacquiao will face Keith Thurman for the WBA welterweight super title on July 20, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on FOX PPV.