Bob Arum and Top Rank: The Journey of the Boxing’s Biggest Promotion

Published 03/05/2021, 1:00 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 11: Top Rank Founder and CEO Bob Arum speaks during a news conference for the heavyweight fight between Tyson Fury and Otto Wallin at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on September 11, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wallin and Fury will meet in a heavyweight bout on September 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


Bob Arum, the name is synonymous with boxing, and with the ever-changing transitions in the sport, Arum has also evolved through it, becoming one of the greatest promoters ever to have lived. The 88-year-old former Attorney of the US Justice had no such reasons to enter the boxing market. However, it was one smart decision that changed his life and built the Top Rank promotions, eventually sheltering several champions of boxing.

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In 1962, Arum was involved with the monetary assignments for the heavyweight title fight between Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson. During that time, he met CCTV veteran Lester M. Malitz and planted the seeds of his promotional career. But he still didn’t have any plans of entering the business.

According to Sportscasting, Arum left the US justice department in 1963 and reconnected with Malitz two years later. Meanwhile, Malitz was struggling to promote the fight, and that’s when Arum came in handy. Bob Arum helped him negotiate deals for television broadcasting, and the smart man soon realized that he could be a pioneer in the boxing business.

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He soon became the secretary of Muhammad Ali’s promotion and began working with the elites on an international stage. That’s when Arum got a complete grasp of the business. He worked with ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali for several years and promoted him to be the biggest athlete of that time.

Meanwhile, in 1973, Arum formed the Top Rank Promotions alongside Jabir Herbert Muhammad. Operating from Las Vegas, Top Rank became one of the biggest promotions in the sport. While Arum already had his success in the boxing world, Top Rank doubled the numbers in the future.

Bob Arum and Top Rank taking over the Boxing World

Since its formation, Top Rank has promoted several fighters like Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Thomas Hearns, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard and many more. The company has staged some of the most iconic fights in the sport’s history and even today continues to hold the top spot.

The boxing business is quite controversial and often gets dirty with those involved facing a lot of ups and downs. Although Bob Arum had been in the business since that time, he never let his reign fade.

He transitioned fine with time, and Top Rank has a stellar roster even today. Starting from Mikaela Mayer, Terence Crawford, Tyson Fury, to Teofimo Lopez, Bob Arum might have the best stable at this point.

According to the official website of Top Rank, the promotion has had 9,000 fights in 22 different countries under 1500 cards.

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Arum has always been a smart promoter and got hold of the changing dynamics in the business. That’s why Top Rank took the right decisions at the right stage.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 12: Boxer Tyson Fury (L) and Top Rank Founder and CEO Bob Arum attend a news conference at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on June 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fury will face Tom Schwarz in a heavyweight bout on June 15 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In 1996, Top Rank had a Spanish league series on Univision, which was quite uncommon at that time. Arum was also one of the first persons to bring PPV sales in the sport, joining hands with HBO, ABC, Showtime. Now, Top Rank deals with ESPN.

The promotion has a bright future and 88-year-old Arum continues to take the lead. But there are several other representatives in Todd DuBoef and others. Hence, Top Rank is still the evergreen enigma of the world of boxing.

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Raj Sarkar

1511 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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