Arum selects winners in dream fights featuring stars he has promoted

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum has made his picks when asked to select who would win dream fights spanning boxing eras.


Arum promoted each boxer involved and was asked on the Boxing Life Stories podcast who might win between Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather, Roberto Duran and Manny Pacquiao, Aaron Pryor and Terence Crawford, Tommy Hearns and Oscar De La Hoya and Muhammad Ali and Tyson Fury.


Sugar Ray Leonard v Floyd Mayweather


Leonard. Leonard was terrific. Leonard was really something special. And as good a fighter as Floyd Mayweather was, he wouldn’t have compared to Sugar Ray Leonard.


Roberto Duran v Manny Pacquiao 


Duran. Duran at his peak was unbeatable. He was so absolutely vicious and he would have overwhelmed Manny – who was a great boxer – but he couldn’t have evaded Duran. Remember, even Ray Leonard who was a terrific boxer in that first fight [with Dura] couldn’t evade Duran at his best or near best because Duran won that first fight.


Aaron Pryor v Terence Crawford


That’s interesting. That would be an interesting fight. I think Crawford. I think he’s much more solid and he has the weapons, that he fights equally well with either hand and that gives him the advantage, although Pryor was a great fighter. You don’t really know and you’re never going to prove one way or another, but if I had to bet the fight, I would bet Crawford.


Tommy Hearns v Oscar De La Hoya


Hearns would have knocked Oscar out. Oscar was a very, very good fighter, but Hearns was special and he had the ability to knock out Oscar. Oscar would be competitive with Hearns but Tommy would have knocked out Oscar.


Muhammad Ali v Tyson Fury


That would be a fight that I would stay home for because I couldn’t bear to watch. I don’t know. Ali was such a consummate boxer. Ali at his best, not the end Ali, Ali at his best prior to the three-and-a-half-year hiatus, was unhittable and could fight any style, but none of the fighters of his era were a 6ft 9 guy who could box very well, and move good and duck punches the way Fury can. I don’t know how that fight would go. It’s so hard to say. Fighters from different eras, fighting each other…. I would tend to side with Ali because at that point in time, Ali was unbeatable, coming off the Liston fights, fighting Henry Cooper again and Brian London and [Karl] Mildenberger, but Fury is so big, and so talented that Ali never fought anybody like that.   


Arum was asked about how big a win over Oleksandr Usyk on February 17 would be for Fury, the unbeaten heavyweight champion who was pushed hard by Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia last month.


“I think pretty big,” Arum said. “And then I believe – he [Fury] makes his own decisions – but I believe he will then run out the clock. There are some great heavyweights out there after Usyk, like the Chinese boy [Zhilei] Zhang, who’s a tremendous puncher and that would be a terrific fight, there’s my young heavyweight Jared Anderson waiting in the wings, there’s the Olympic gold winner [Bakhodir] Jalalov from Uzbekistan, and there’s Richard Torrez. [There are] a lot of great heavyweights out there that Tyson could continue fighting as long as he wishes but I really think, with his personality and his ability to crossover, like the Netflix documentary he did about his life, that sooner rather than later he will go in to these other ventures and not risk any permanent damage by continuing to box.”


Has Arum watched the Neflix series?


“Yes, it’s so fun,” Arum smiled. “It isn’t the greatest television in the world, but it’s sort of entertaining.” 


In a wide-ranging interview on the Boxing Life Stories podcast, Arum talked about meeting his wife Lovee for the first time and their first date, the death of his son, John, in a tragic accident, why he will never retire and what Joan Rivers said to him during The War between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns.