Bob Arum: ‘Joshua’s chin is very, very suspect’
By Barry Holbrook: Bob Arum is convinced that his fighter Kubrat Pulev will knock out the weak-chinned Anthony Joshua on June 20, and then move forward to take on the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder trilogy match.
Arum says he promoted Andy Ruiz Jr. through most of his professional career, and he knows he’s not a big knockout threat. So for Ruiz to KO Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) last year, it suggests that his chin isn’t what it needs to be for him to beat a big heavyweight like Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs).
Besides his knockout loss to Ruiz, Joshua has been hurt by these fighters during his brief 8-year professional career:
- Dillian Whyte
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Carlos Takam
- Alexander Povetkin
Arum isn’t certain that any of the upcoming fights on the boxing schedule will be taking place due to the coronavirus. The decision on whether to allow boxing to continue will come down the governor and the health specialists.
Arum: Pulev will be able to knock out Joshua
“He has no chin,” said Arum to IFL TV when asked why he thinks Pulev will KO Joshua. “I knew Andy Ruiz prior to his first fight with Joshua. Every one of Ruiz’s fights except the one previous to that [Alexander Dimitrenko] was promoted by us.
“So we are experts on Andy Ruiz. We know how good he is, what he lacks, we know he has fast hands, a pretty good chin, but he’s not a knockout guy. Trust me, look at his record. He fought a lot of ham & eggers and he couldn’t knock them out.
“The fact that he knocked out Joshua the way he did indicates to me that Joshua’s chin is very, very suspect. If you compare Ruiz with Pulev, Pulev is a much better fighter than Andy Ruiz. Therefore, what I’ve said is if Ruiz can knock Joshua out, then Pulev has an even better chance to knock him out,” said Arum.
Pulev has got the size, the right-hand power to stop Joshua, as long as he goes after him early in their June 20 fight. As Arum points out, it’s still too early to know if any fights will be taking place in the next 3 to 4 months.
Joshua and Hearn will want Fury fight
“I have no doubt that Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn would look forward to making a fight against Tyson Fury,” said Arum. “Now again, there are other fighters involved. You have Pulev. Will that fight happen or not happen, that has to be worked out. You also have Deontay Wilder, who up until February 22nd, who was considered the most dynamic heavyweight champion of our time, if not all time.
Remember everyone was saying, ‘Nobody can punch as hard as Deontay Wilder.’ Maybe that’s true. Wilder has a lot to say about it. He has a contract for a rematch [with Fury]. So before we jump in and start talking about a Fury-Joshua fight, we have to examine where the other two fighters stand in this mix.
Let’s assume Joshua beats Pulev, and Fury fights Wilder again and beats him. Then I don’t think it would be very difficult to get everybody together in a room and work this out and have a unified champion,” said Arum.
Arum and Joshua are practically begging for the Tyson Fury fight right now. That’s why Hearn is banging the drum hoping that Pulev and Deontay Wilder will step aside so that Joshua can face Fury in December. Based on what Arum is saying, that’s probably not going to happen.
Arum: Eddie Hearn has a big mouth
“Trump is doing very poorly because he talks too much and he gets off message,” said Arum. “Today in a press conference, he attacked the media, which he does whenever he doesn’t know what to say. The problem with Trump is he talks too much.
“It’s almost like Eddie Hearn is the president of the United States. That’s another guy that talks too much. If I told you, I’d be just guessing,” said Arum when asked when his canceled shows will be rescheduled. “The experts don’t know when we’ll be back to doing sporting events.
“It’s hard for me and I would never hazard to guess because it raises expectations, and people might think I know what I’m saying. I don’t and have no idea. Nobody has any idea. We’ve never seen anything like this. They’ve [State Commissions] have told us to shut down through April, which we all have.,” said Arum.
Well, at least Hearn, you know where he stands on any subject. He’s an open book basically. April sounds like just the beginning for how long they want boxing to be shutdown. There’s a good chance that’ll be extended to May and then June. It’ll come down to the number of coronavirus cases. If the numbers continue to increase, then sports might be derailed for a long time for safety purposes.
State Commission doesn’t know when boxing will resume
“The boxing commissions don’t have any expertise,” said Arum. “They get their marching orders from the governor and the governor gets it hopefully from the health services. So again, the last ones that can give us any guidance are the boxing commissions because they’re as much in the dark as we are.
“Who knows? Maybe it’ll be cleared up by then [June] and those shows [Daniel Dubois vs. Joe Joyce] go on. They have no idea what the situation will be in June and neither do I. If it makes sense to reschedule for June, let’s hope they’re right. I don’t know and they don’t know, but let’s hope the optimists are correct.
“We have Artur Beterbiev fighting on March 28th. That’s been canceled now. My May shows, God knows if they go on. Ramirez fights Postol in Fresno on May 9th. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
“So we’re all in a bit of a quandary. But so are the basketball players, the NBA. What about our college seniors who wait four years to participate in March Madness, and that’s off.
“Baseball, who knows when that’s going to start the season. Your football players are in limbo now. So it’s not boxing only. It’s all sports and all the activities,” said Arum.
It sounds pretty dire what Arum says about the Commissions not knowing when boxing will resume. It’s going to be up to the State Governors to make the decision for when athletic events will be able to resume. Right now, they’re asking people to stay indoors.
Arum explains why fights not taking place behind closed doors
“We have to be big boys about it and pick up the pieces when we get the all-clear,” said Arum. “Our original plan was if we weren’t allowed to do spectators, could we do it in a studio in our Top Rank gym, and the answer came back loud and clear, ‘NO.’ I could understand that.
“Why put the Athletic Commission people in jeopardy of getting this disease. I understand this completely. So we have to take a pause now and get going when this is all over. This is unusual, and we’ve never experienced anything like it. We all have to pull together and stop speculating.
“I read something on the Internet today about our man Eddie Hearn, who can’t keep his mouth shut, saying ‘Maybe if it goes too long, maybe we’re going to forget about a Joshua-Pulev fight, and maybe Wilder will be out of time and he can’t fight Fury, and then we can do Joshua and Fury.’ Well, Pulev is a human being and Wilder is a human being,” said Arum.
It sounds like there isn’t even a sliver of a chance of boxing being taken behind closed doors, which means it could be a long time potentially until the sport starts up again.
Arum is hoping that his May 9 card will be able to go ahead, but the news on coronavirus front is negative. It’s not sounding like the coronavirus is disappearing despite people using social distancing, hand washing, and isolation practices.
Arum lectures Hearn: He needs to button his lip
“They have teams behind them, and they excite them and speculate this way when you don’t know what you’re talking about?” said Arum. “We have to be cognizant of the participant’s feelings. The people’s feelings. We can’t start making projections based on ‘What if?’ That’s really harmful.
“So I would advise my friend Eddie Hearn to button up his lip. It may be hard for him to keep out of the papers, and to keep out of the television. But he’s got to do it. He can’t keep speculating based on nonsense. That’s nonsensical, and he shouldn’t do it,” said Arum about the Tyson Fury 2015 rumors.
“I’ve read about the allegations. They’re so far-fetched. Why now when he’s won the championship does this guy open up his mouth. It seems to me to be totally beyond the pale and ridiculous,” said Arum.
Hearn wants the Joshua vs. Fury fight to take place so badly that he’s talking about the fight taking place in December. The problem with Hearn doing that is it has no chance of happening, and he’s getting the naive fan’s hopes up for nothing.
The hardcore boxing fans that know the sport realize that there’s no chance of Joshua and Fury fighting in 2020. If Hearn wants to speculate, he might be closer to the truth if he says there won’t be any more boxing in 2020.
Putting fights in studios too risky – Arum
“I am not a medical practitioner,” said Arum when asked whether he would be willing to stage fights behind closed doors if permitted. “I am guided by people in my country and in my city have told me. initially, I thought, ‘Hey, what a great idea. I’d do it in the television studio. ‘
“Then I was told there are a lot of risks there. So then I stopped any plans obviously to do it. We, Eddie Hearn, Frank Warren, and Al Haymon, maybe big-time boxing promoters, but that doesn’t mean we know a hell of a lot about this pandemic.
“So for me, I’m going to be guided by the experts, and not insert myself into the fray because I’m not sure I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this pandemic. As long as I was given the go-ahead to do it, and they were telling me that based on medical advice. In other words, the Commission isn’t going to do anything, for example, in Nevada that the governor hasn’t approved of.
“The governor has health advisers advising him, both on the State and Federal level. So if they gave us the go-ahead to go forward, of course, I would do it because it would come from good authority. But without it, I’m not going to press it, and I’m not going to lobby for it because that would be wrong,” said Arum.
Without testing being done on all the fighters, and their team members, it would be risky to stage fights in studios.
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