Arum defends Canelo, talks Franchise tag & Crawford criticism
By Allan Fox: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum isn’t in agreement with some fans that are saying that Saul Canelo Alvarez’s fight against Sergey Kovalev was “Fixed”. Arum points out that Kovalev getting “concussed” from a big shot from Canelo isn’t how you fix a fight.
Fans suspicious about Canelo vs. Kovalev fight
Fans have been critical of superstar Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) with the way that WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) was throwing punches without a lot of power behind them for their November 2 fight in Las Vegas. With many people seeing the Canelo-Kovalev fight as being STAGED, they’re not happy about it.
Things weren’t helped when Kovalev revealed on Monday that he only took the fight with Canelo for “financial” reasons, and that the fans were crazy if they thought he was going to win.
Arum in favor of WBC giving Canelo ‘Franchise’ tag
The World Boxing Council’s recent move in elevating middleweight champion Canelo to ‘Franchise’ champion is something that Arum doesn’t mind. He thinks it’s a good thing because it frees him up from having to fight “stupid mandatories.”
Unfortunately, the boxing public and the fighters don’t agree with Arum’s stance on Canelo being given the Franchise tag. They see it as Canelo being given a way to avoid risky fights against guys like Jermall Charlo, who was hi WBC mandatory.
Arum on Canelo vs. Kovalev being fixed
“Fixed? You don’t fix a fight by sticking your chin out and getting concussed,” Arum told Fighthype when asked if the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev fight was Fixed. “There are a lot easier ways to do it. That may be the case or not, but if I was Kovalev’s management, I would say the same thing. It’s like a Hail Mary to get a rematch.”
“I thought it was a very, very entertaining fight,” Arum said in discussing the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight. “I had it dead even going into that last round, and I had Kovalev up 5 to 4 before that. So Kovalev was winning the fight,” said Arum.
It doesn’t matter what Arum says in defending the Canelo vs Kovalev fight. Boxing fans have already formed their opinion about the fight, and a lot of them are suspicious about. Arum isn’t going to be able to change that no matter what he says. Are fans going to believe what Arum says or believe what their eyes saw in watching Kovalev fighting listlessly, throwing punches without power behind them.
Canelo getting Franchise tag is good thing
When [WBC president] Mauricio Sulaiman made Canelo the Franchise champion so that he didn’t need to fight these stupid mandatories, they asked me what I thought of it,” said Arum. I said, ‘For a fighter of Canelo’s stature, Mauricio did the right thing.
“Canelo is clearly the best draw in boxing, Canelo has never ducked guys that were too tough, and Canelo doesn’t need to be forced fed mandatories. He’ll give the public very good fights.
“That’s what I said. [Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar] De La Hoya said I said this because I somehow wanted to sign Canelo. What the hell did he want me to do? Say Canelo is a bum and he can’t fight?” said Arum.
“I think Canelo is a hell of a good fighter, he’s good for boxing, and he can certainly sell tickets and subscriptions,” said Arum. “He’s a big draw, and he doesn’t insult me, and he doesn’t say bad things about me. So why would I say bad things about him?”
Some fans would argue that the reason Arum is saying positive things about Canelo being given the Franchise tag is because his fighter Vasility Lomachenko was given the same tag. A lot of fans think Lomachenko asked for the Franchise status so that he could get out of fighting Devin Haney.
The idea behind the Franchise tag being given to superstar fighters is to allow them to take more meaningful fights, and not be bogged down defending against less popular mandatory challengers. That’s something that boxing fans are being anti-sport.
When you get a fighter that can never lose their title, even if they lose a fight, it cheapens the sport in the eyes of a lot of fans. That’s an issue that people have with Canelo and Vasiliy Lomachenko being given the Franchise tag by the WBC.
Arum talks Spence, Crawford and De La Hoya
“I think Oscar usually has something to say, and he usually says the wrong thing,” said Arum about his comments about Terence Crawford. “But as far as [Terence] Crawford is concerned, we keep Craword busy, we put him with the best fighters, and eventually he’ll fight everybody.
“The fight that Oscar was talking about was the fight that everybody wanted to see, which was Crawford against Errol Spence. We don’t know now whether we’ll ever see that fight. Not because anyone is holding back a fighter, but who knows when Spence will ever be able to fight again?
“No, I haven’t heard anything, but I’ve read a lot of rumors, and rumors aren’t what we should be indulging in as far as Spence is concerned.
“I think as a fighter he’s terrific. He’s got a nice personality, and he’s a nice kid, and I’ve always gotten along with him. I’ve kibitzed [talk] with him and Crawford and myself. We’ve always had a good time together. We had one of the great bantamweights of all time Salvador Sanchez die in a car accident, and that was absolutely tragic.
“I believe Paul Williams had some kind of accident. A motorcycle accident. A lot of young people, to be in boxing, are risk takers, and a lot of them are risk takers in their lives,” said Arum.
Errol Spence’s car accident is bad news for the sport of boxing, and terrible for Arum. He’d been hoping of matching his fighter WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford against Spence in 2020. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen now.
Arum doesn’t have anyone for Crawford to fight. He says, “We put him with the best fighters,”, but that’s not the reality though.