Promoter Don King and Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum, who turned 79 years old, respectively, in August and December, will be featured in an upcoming edition of The New York Times, Arum exclusively told FanHouse on Tuesday merely hours after the duo was interviewed in the newspaper's New York Office.
"We were having a great time, today, both me and Don. We had an in-depth interview concerning our history together against each other, you know?" said Arum.
"We talked about all of the fights that we've done together, in-depth," said Arum. "And, you know, both of us offered our opinion on the state of boxing today and the various other things as well as the things that we're not doing right."
Their promotional histories include Muhammad Ali's 14th-round knockout of Joe Frazier in the October, 1975 "Thrilla in Manila," the June, 1980 Roberto Duran decision over Sugar Ray Leonard, the September, 1999 Felix Trinidad majority decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya, and, the April, 2006 Floyd Mayweather unanimous decision over Zab Judah.
They are, put simply, rare birds of a feather.
"A handshake with Bob Arum is better than a written contract with the rest of them. So, yes, it was great to be back with Bob again. It was great to be able to deal with a real professional and a real promoter. The right way to promote is to get other people involved," said King.
"I'm a promoter of the people, by the people and for the people, and my magic lies in my people ties. That's not just a cliche, that's a fact. So we're going to be working together for the betterment of the sport," said King. "And by putting fights together like this, and the ones that we've put together in the past, you know, it's great for the sport."
King and Arum will be on hand on Wednesday in New York to promote their next joint venture, which is a March 12, Showtime distributed pay per view clash matching King's 37-year-old former world champion Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1, 22 knockouts) of Managua, Nicaragua, and Arum's WBA junior middleweight (154) titlist Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs) of Puerto Rico at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Arum also promotes the eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) of the Philippines, who dethroned Cotto by 12th-round knockout as WBO welterweight (147 pounds) titlist in November of 2009.
"Don King is already talking about how Ricardo Mayorga is going to upset Miguel Cotto, and then, he's going to present Mayorga as an opponent for Manny Pacquiao in November," said Arum. "But, you know, that's the world according to Don King. You know, that's Don King talking."
The banter will resume again during Wednesday's press conference beginning at 11 a.m. at B.B. King's Blues Club and Grill in New York's Times Square.
"This is going to be a lot of fun, but, you know, the fun started with the first phone call between us regarding this promotion. We didn't even have a handshake down. We don't have to have a signed contract," said King.
"But just look at the money he's spending and the money I'm spending. This is all based upon a word," said King. "We can announce a fight, go out and spend money on hotels and travel. All of this is based upon a handshake, and your word means more than anything else. That, in itself, speaks loud and clear about our relationship."
The Cotto-Mayorga under card will feature junior middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman (28-1, eight KOs), of Brooklyn, New York, against New Jersey's Pawel Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs), as well as Gary Shaw-promoted, lightweight (135 pounds) contender, Lenny Zappavigna (25-0, 17 KOs) of Australia pursuing his third consecutive stoppage and his first world title against IBF belt-holder Miguel Vazquez (27-3, 12 KOs).
Also on the card will be the return from a 14-month layoff of former world champion female boxer, Christy Martin (49-5-3, 31 KOs), formerly promoted by King, but recently signed and promoted by Arum.
King and Shaw are also in the midst of promoting a Jan. 29, HBO televised junior welterweight (140 pounds) clash between southpaw WBC king Devon Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs) and WBO counter part Tim Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) that will be contested at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
During the early promotional activities related to Alexander-Bradley, King experienced the December death of his wife of more than 50 years, Henrietta King, in South Florida following a lengthy illness. Henrietta King was 87.
Arum, similarly, experienced the September, mountain hiking-related death of his 49-year-old son, John Arum, an attorney, during the early part of his promotional tour for the Nov. 13 unanimous decision by Pacquiao, holder of the WBO welterweight and WBC junior middleweight belts, against ex-champ Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
"Don King called me when my son died, and I called Don when his wife died," Arum told FanHouse recently. "So, yeah, we discussed all of that. But, you know, those conversations really have to remain private."
Arum graduated from Harvard with a degree in law, while the once-jailed King, former criminal, often quips that he "graduated from the University of The Ghetto."
King and Arum also have been galvanized as a result of their mutual promotional differences with Golden Boy Promotions, whose CEO is Richard Schaefer, and whose president is former Olympic gold medalist and world champion, Oscar De La Hoya.
"I wouldn't know how good I was without a Bob Arum. That's because Bob Arum is competitive, he's tenacious, he perseveres. This is history in the making. Everything that we do, we'll try to make it so that the people will want to come and see it," said King.
"People will want to be a part of it, and will want to be a part of the glory of the fight game again. Working with Bob, it's like, you know, it's like that Merrill Lynch saying -- we're a breed apart," said King. "You know, Bob used to always have these outbursts of anger, but we've always maintained what Aretha Franklin talked about, and that's R-E-S-P-E-C-T -- respect for one another."