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Arum, Robert

Boxing - 2003

Chairman of the Board of Top Rank, Bob Arum has been boxing's top promoter since the early 1970s. Among the more than 400 title bouts he has staged are many of the top-grossing prize fights in boxing history, promoting such champions as: Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Marvin Hagler, Alexis Arguello, Carlos Monzon, Iran Barkley, Thomas Hearns, Ray Leonard, Ray Mancini, James Toney, Terry Norris, Rafael Ruelas, Gabriel Ruelas and Oscar De La Hoya. His superfights include: Hagler-Leonard, Chavez-De La Hoya, Holyfield-Foreman, Foreman-Moorer, Leonard-Hearns, Hagler-Hearns, Ali-Frazier II, and both Ali-Spinks fights.

A graduate of New York University (where he was student body president) and cum laude from Harvard Law School, Arum went to work for Attorney General Robert Kennedy during the JFK administration. After winning landmark decisions for the Justice Department against corporate giants Con-Edison, Citibank and Standard Oil, Bob was assigned litigation involving the Floyd Patterson-Sonny Liston heavyweight title bout. He was at once fascinated by the players within the fistic world. Three years later, he left the Justice Department to become a partner in Louis Nizer's law firm, met football great Jim Brown, who introduced him to Muhammad Ali.

Arum promoted the first fight he ever attended, Ali's March 29, 1966 title bout against George Chuvalo. He organized Main Bout, Inc. and went on to promote Ali's fights with Henry Cooper, Brian London, Karl Mildenberger, Cleveland Williams and Ernie Terell––all staged prior to Ali's controversial suspension from boxing.

On September 15, 1979, Arum promoted four world title fights in one night at the same arena.The extraordinary event at the New Orleans Superdome, featuring Ali-Spinks II, Victor Galindez-Mike Rossman, Danny Lopez-Juan Malvares, Orge Lujan-Albert Davila, matched the record for most championship fights in a one day event.

Boxing pundits readily concede that Bob Arum established himself by being one of the first to understand the complexities and potential of closed circuit television marketing (pay cable and pay-per-view) to present championship matches. Another long running achievement, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, has been a weekly fixture on the all-sports basic cable system since April 1980.

Bob Arum was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.

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