Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Arum Unique at Reunion of His Harvard Law Class

June 05, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

LAS VEGAS — There were numerous lawyers, judges, professors and business executives at the 40th reunion of the Harvard Law School class of '56. . . .

But Bob Arum was the only boxing promoter. . . .

"The snooty guys from the prep schools and the eating clubs didn't have much to say to me," Arum said. "In other words, not much has changed since I was a student." . . .

Arum, the oldest of three children of a Brooklyn accountant, graduated with honors from Harvard Law after having served as student council president at New York University. . . .

"Growing up in Brooklyn, I lived and died with the Dodgers before they moved to L.A.," Arum said. "But I didn't follow boxing at all." . . .

The first fight he saw in person was one he promoted, Muhammad Ali vs. George Chuvalo in Toronto in 1966. . . .

"I was the attorney for Lester Malitz, who handled closed-circuit TV for the big fights," Arum said. "I hired Jim Brown to do color commentary one night. Brown told me that I ought to become a promoter." . . .

Arum laughed at Brown's suggestion, but the Hall of Fame football star introduced him to Muhammad Ali. . . .

Ali and Arum hit it off. . . .

"Then I was interviewed by the Muslims and they made me Ali's promoter," Arum said. . . .

For the next 13 years, he practiced law and promoted fights. . . .

Once a partner of the famed Louie Nizer, he dissolved his own firm in 1979 to concentrate on the not-so-sweet science. . . .

"I don't find boxing sleazy," he said three days before what will be one of his most lucrative promotions, Julio Cesar Chavez-Oscar De La Hoya at Caesars Palace. "I prefer to think of it as exciting." . . .

"Boxing always has been in need of heroes, marquee stars," Arum said. "Mike Tyson is not a hero. I'm hoping that Oscar De La Hoya emerges as one." . . .

Arum said there were eight women and one black in his Harvard Law School class of about 400. . . .

"The student body is far more diverse now," he said. "But there are very few Hispanics." . . .

During the reunion, Arum and school officials discussed the establishment of an Oscar De La Hoya scholarship for a deserving Latino student from Southern California. . . .

At 64, Arum has no plans to retire. . . .

"If I did, what would I do?" asked the only boxing promoter from Harvard Law. . . .

Ringside tickets, which were sold out long ago at $700 apiece, are being scalped for as much as $2,500. . . .

Among the perks for Chavez and De La Hoya are 35 complimentary tickets each, although that doesn't begin to cover their entourages. . . .

Neither fighter is expected to have any trouble making the 140-pound limit at the weigh-in, which will be televised on ESPN Thursday at 3:30 p.m. . . .

Watching the fights Tuesday night at Arizona Charlie's was Dean Chance, the 1964 Cy Young Award winner for the Angels and vice president of the International Boxing Council. . . .

"I'm doing as little as possible and everything I can afford," Chance said. . . .

The International Boxing Federation fighter of the year is, who else, Francois Botha. . . .

I would hate to see Evander Holyfield risk his well-being in a bout against Mike Tyson. . . .

Azumah Nelson, 37 or older, looked as good as ever stopping James Leija in the sixth round last Saturday night. There probably isn't a 130-pounder--or 135-pounder, for that matter--around who can beat Nelson. . . .

Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, on the selection of judges from England, Belgium and Thailand to work the main event on Friday: "Chavez's enormous popularity in Mexico would make it difficult for a judge from that country to remain as neutral as possible." . . .

The judges will be paid $5,000 apiece and referee Joe Cortez of Nevada $8,000. . . .

One of the reasons Cortez was hired is that he speaks Spanish. . . .

The politically correct king of the four-round heavyweights will wear trunks Friday that will be red, white and blue in the front, saying "Butterbean," and green and red in the back, saying, "Frijole de Mantequilla."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|