Bob Arum compares and contrasts Manny Pacquiao to Muhammad Ali

9 Nov

Tommy Barber – London

Top Rank Boxing CEO Bob Arum has a stable filled with quality prizefighters yet one stands out ahead of the lot: Manny Pacquiao. Not only is the 32-year-old a champion of eight weight classes… he is also a singer, movie star in his native Philippines and a congressman for the Sarangani province. In a revealing interview with Gareth A. Davies in British broadsheet The Telegraph, Arum explored the similarities with former heavyweight king; Muhammad Ali.

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Profile of Ali in pensive mood

“The political thing is different,” said Arum. “The political thing for Manny is more a social welfare liberalism than Ali, who made political statements.”

Arum continued by remarking on Pacquiao’s personal political outlook, stating that the Filipino’s ideology is a hybrid of left and right wing ideals. He said: “If you dig into Manny’s political philosophy, it is very revealing because when you talk to him about welfare and poverty, he sounds like a very liberal democrat.

“But then when you talk to him about having to control the population and birth control he’s violently against it. There, he’s a staunch catholic. He sounds like a right wing religious conservative.”

With Ali, a three-time heavyweight world champion, was dubbed the Louisville Lip for his sharp wit within the sport of boxing but he transcended into the political realm in order to raise awareness to issues of injustice.

“Ali was never concerned with poverty or welfare, he was concerned with discrimination and having a fair chance,” commented Arum. “He never really spoke out on economic issues or the inequality of classes.”

He continued: “People said to me after Ali, there won’t be another superstar like [him]. Will there be another Manny Pacquiao? No, there won’t. Will there be another marketable superstar? Yeah, definitely. But it won’t be a Manny Pacquiao. Just like Mike Tyson wasn’t another Ali.

“I think I’m closer to Pacquiao than I was to Ali, probably because of my age. When you’re younger everything is the business. I was so concentrated on the business but when you get older you’re much cooler about it so you can become emotionally invested.”

Suited-up Manny. Credit: Stacey Verbeek - MABG, Dallas

Despite Pacquiao’s entourage exceeding numbers of 50, Arum finds it easier to communicate directly with the fighter on a one-on-one basis. Something, he says, he never had with Ali because a: he did not promote the heavyweight alone and b: because of Ali’s manager Jabir Herbert Muhammad.

He said: “With Ali, I always had Herbert pushing me for more and more money, there were other promoters involved because I never had Ali exclusively; it was different. With Pacquiao, those issues aren’t there.”

Arum has represented Pacquiao’s ascent to the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound ranks. On Saturday, November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Manny defends that status – as well as his WBO welterweight world title – against challenger and fierce rival Juan Manuel Marquez at a 144lb catchweight.

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One Response to “Bob Arum compares and contrasts Manny Pacquiao to Muhammad Ali”

  1. bodypro8 November 10, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    I compare Bob Arum to Moses.

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