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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Arum discusses fights in the works

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- When Top Rank's Bob Arum promotes a big fight, like he's doing in advance of Saturday night's Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey welterweight title bout at Cowboys Stadium, he loves to hang around the media center and gab with the boss scribes.

Although Pacquiao-Clottey (HBO PPV, 9 ET, $49.95) is foremost on his mind -- and why not? Arum is predicting more than 750,000 buys and thinking the fight may reach 900,000 -- he is also working on other events. Here are a few things in the works:

• Arum said the Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto junior middleweight title bout at Yankee Stadium on June 5 will take place on HBO rather than HBO PPV, as had been discussed. He said he and the network had reached an agreement. This is a good thing. That fight would die on pay-per-view. As a live HBO fight, it becomes a much bigger event, particularly with the backdrop of it being the first fight at the new Yankee Stadium (sort of like Saturday's fight being made bigger by its status as the first fight at Cowboys Stadium). I would love to see HBO do a countdown show for the fight, because there are a lot of storylines. You have Foreman, the future rabbi, with an interesting story. You have Cotto trying to rebound from his November loss to Pacquiao, the death of his father soon after the defeat and his hunt for a new trainer (Arum said Joe Santiago would remain in Cotto's corner, but not as the head man). And, of course, you have Yankee Stadium and the rich boxing tradition built in the old stadium across the street.

• The televised undercard for Foreman-Cotto will be Humberto Soto defending a lightweight belt against Anthony Peterson. That, of course, is assuming that Soto, a reigning junior lightweight titlist, wins the vacant lightweight belt he will fight for againstDavid Diaz on Saturday night's Pacquiao-Clottey undercard. And if John Duddy wins his fight Saturday night, you can also count on him to be on the untelevised Yankee Stadium undercard.

• Arum said featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez's next fight will come against Bernabe Concepcion, with a target date and location of July 10 in Lopez's native Puerto Rico. Arum promised the winner of the recent Concepcion-Mario Santiago fight a shot at Lopez, and Concepcion got the job done. Concepcion against Lopez is a nice fight. Arum added that he is not tied to HBO for the bout.

Yuriorkis Gamboa, Arum's other featherweight titleholder, probably will return in July (but not on a split-site card with Lopez, as was originally talked about) if he retains his belt later this month in Germany. Arum said he hopes to match him against Celestino Caballero, assuming Caballero defeats Daud Yordan in their April 10 HBO bout.

• Another bout Arum hopes to make -- which conceivably could be part of a doubleheader with Gamboa-Caballero -- is Edwin Valero, moving up from lightweight, against Lamont Peterson in a junior welterweight bout. If Arum can figure out a way to keep the two fights together on the same card (they're expensive fights), that is a great doubleheader. He said Showtime has particular interest in Valero-Peterson.

• Top Rank's Carl Moretti said junior flyweight titlist Giovani Segura will headline "Top Rank Live" (Fox Sports en EspaƱol) from Acapulco, Mexico, on March 27, possibly againstDenver Cuello. Moretti said it hasn't been determined if Segura will defend his title or take a nontitle bout. The opening fight on that show will be a junior flyweight title eliminator between former titlist Ulises Solis of Mexico against the Philippines' Bert Batawang. The winner gets a mandatory shot at titleholder Carlos Tamara.

Source: espn.go.com

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