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  • Miguel Maravilla

Bob Arum /Top Rank Celebrates 54 Years in Boxing

(March 31, 2020) — Bob Arum started at the top, and he’s still here. A one-time practicing attorney who worked in the tax division for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, Arum promoted his first card on March 29, 1966. Muhammad Ali defended his heavyweight world title at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens against Canadian challenger George Chuvalo and won a 15-round unanimous decision. Arum planned on staging Ali-Chuvalo in Chicago, but the Illinois State Athletic Commission banned Ali because of his “unpatriotic” remarks about the Vietnam War. So, Arum went north of the border, and Maple Leaf Gardens owner Harold Ballard welcomed Ali and Arum with open arms. Chuvalo accepted the fight on less than three weeks’ notice after original opponent Ernie Terrell pulled out, and the rest is boxing history. “It was a memorable, crazy time in our country,” Arum said. “After we were kicked out of Chicago, Ballard told us we could bring the fight to Toronto, and he was a man of his word. More than 50 years later, Ali-Chuvalo in Toronto is still the most difficult promotion of my entire career.” Arum wound up promoting 27 Ali fights and turned Top Rank (incorporated in 1973) into an international brand that has promoted 2,079 fight cards and 655 world title bouts in 42 U.S. states and 92 foreign or international cities. Many of the greatest fighters of the past half-century have fought under the Top Rank banner, including: Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Johnny Tapia, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Oscar De La Hoya, Timothy Bradley Jr., James Toney, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Alexis Arguello, Michael Carbajal, Miguel Cotto, Emile Griffith, Carlos Monzón, Terence Crawford, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Tyson Fury. Said Arum: “It has been one hell of a 54-year ride. I am honored to have promoted many of history’s greatest boxers. I could have never foreseen this 54 years ago. I look forward to many more memorable nights at ringside.” Top Rank/Bob Arum By The Numbers: 2,079: Fight cards promoted 824: Shows on ESPN family of networks 655: World title fights promoted 517: Shows promoted in Nevada 412: Shows promoted in New Jersey 219: American cities in which Top Rank has promoted 195: Shows promoted in California 154: Shows promoted in Texas 129: Shows promoted on HBO 92: Foreign or international cities in which Top Rank has promoted 73: Shows promoted on ABC 72: Shows promoted in New York State 69: Shows promoted in Arizona 63: Shows promoted in Puerto Rico 52: Shows promoted in Mexico 49: Pay-per-view shows promoted 47: Shows promoted in Illinois 42: States in which Top Rank has promoted boxing 41: Miguel Cotto fights promoted 41: Shows promoted in Pennsylvania 38: Michael Carbajal fights promoted 38: Shows promoted in New York City 37: Oscar De La Hoya fights promoted 36: Johnny Tapia fights promoted 35: Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights promoted 33: James Toney fights promoted 32: Erik Morales fights promoted 31: Shows promoted in Florida 28: Iran Barkley fights promoted 27: Muhammad Ali fights promoted or co-promoted 26: Foreign countries in which Top Rank has promoted, plus Puerto Rico 25: Freddie Roach fights promoted 24: Shows promoted in New Mexico 23: World heavyweight title fights promoted 22: Terence Crawford fights promoted 20: Marvelous Marvin Hagler fights promoted 20: Manny Pacquiao fights promoted 19: Juan Manuel Marquez fights promoted 14: George Foreman fights promoted 14: Shows promoted in China 13: Thomas Hearns fights promoted 10: Alexis Arguello fights promoted 10: Ray Mancini fights promoted 9: Timothy Bradley Jr. fights promoted 8: Roberto Duran fights promoted 7: Sugar Ray Leonard fights promoted 7: Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. fights promoted 5: Carlos Monzón fights promoted 5: Emile Griffith fights promoted 4: Mike Tyson fights promoted 3: Tyson Fury fights promoted 2: Larry Holmes fights promoted 1: Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon jump promoted 0: Shows (so far) promoted by Top Rank in: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming.

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