Top Rank's Arum Blasts MGM Grand For Promoting Mayweather Over Pacquiao
Top Rank Chair Bob Arum was upset yesterday with MGM Grand Garden Arena execs, who "have the property decorated to the hilt with signage and promotion for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight that the MGM will host on May 3, rather than an all-out blitz" for Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. rematch, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. Although there is Pacquiao-Bradley signage "in the main lobby, there is little elsewhere." However, Mayweather-Maidana advertising "is everywhere," including a "massive banner down the side of the building with Mayweather’s picture." Mayweather-Maidana "adorns slot machines throughout the casino and there are rotating signs hanging from the ceilings along the casino’s Studio Walk." Arum "lambasted the MGM Grand" in the closing remarks of yesterday's promotional news conference, and made his comments with MGM President Richard Sturm "sitting right next to him." Sturm, whom Arum had "earlier introduced to make his remarks as MGM 'president of hanging posters for the wrong fight,' did not look happy, but did not make any comments." Arum has had a "rocky relationship with the MGM Grand in recent years, one of the reasons why he has done so much business with The Wynn and held fights at the Thomas & Mack Center" (ESPN.com, 4/9). In Las Vegas, Case Keefer notes Sturm was "rattled, understandably sitting stoically throughout the barbs while everyone else on the stage burst into laughter, but kept cordial with his comments." Mayweather is "enemy No. 1" for Arum, and he now sees MGM Grand as a "glorified member of 'The Money Team'" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 4/10).
ONE-TWO PUNCH: In L.A. Bill Dwyre writes Arum is Don King "with a college degree and a logical flow to his bombast." When there is "controversy in his sport, he is a moth to flame." Arum "ripped the MGM, pouring salt in the wound by comparing it, obviously unfavorably, to Las Vegas Strip hotel competitor the Venetian, which is 'making $500 million a quarter.'" That jab was "more tactical than random." The Venetian is "owned by Sheldon Adelson, Arum's current business partner in his quest to increase his Top Rank Promotions revenue by holding fights in Adelson's Venetian Macao casino" (L.A. TIMES, 4/10). Arum said that MGM Resorts Int'l Chair & CEO Jim Murren "apologized to Top Rank president Todd duBoef." Arum added that MGM Resorts President & CMO Bill Hornbuckle "made similar apologies to duBoef." However, Arum said "there has been an internal battle going on over there" at the MGM. He added that Sturm "made the decision on his own to put the advertising for the Mayweather fight up prominently inside the casino." YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole noted that is "extremely rarely done in boxing in Las Vegas, where a casino would advertise a future fight while a current one is going on, because promoters have dramatically different sponsors and corporate partners." Arum said that he "isn't concerned that he'll be blackballed from doing fights at the MGM" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/9).