Legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum has backed Mick Conlan [1(1)-0] to ‘change the face of boxing’.
The Top Rank boss was in attendance to watch Conlan’s professional debut at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
An unprecedented platform for a debut, Top Rank were rewarded by a sell-out and a special atmosphere in the famous basement as Conlan scored a third round stoppage of Tim Ibarra.
The 84 year old, who was honoured by the BWAA on Thursday, was delighted with the occasion.
Arum explained that “In fighting, a boxer in his professional debut is not launched this way as they main event, but he deserves it. He is going to change the face of boxing and be a real worldwide star.”
“He will make boxing a lot more fan friendly. I think a lot of people who have never really got connected to the sport will be interested. We have had tremendous publicity in the papers on the internet with this professional debut and the publicity will continue and Mick Conlan will carry the flag of boxing to real great heights in the years to come.”
However, Arum did reserve some ire for the U.S. television networks who were tentative to pick up the bout, leaving it to be shown on UníMas (in addition to BoxNation in Ireland and the UK as well as deferred coverage on RTÉ2).
“Isn’t that shortsighted?” Arum mused. “There is no network in this country that would pick up this fight. That’s what’s hurting boxing. The narrow-minded thinking, particularly by the premium networks. No vision. No idea what the public would like to see.”
“This fight, this show, with the build-up and the audience was theater, was entertainment. Was it a great fight? Of course not. But it was a really good show. These executives at these premium networks are in a brain-funk where they can’t break out and do things that are innovative.”
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank