Bob Arum has potential super-fights on his mind.
The Top Rank boss is looking to build the next generation of stars and has already signed six top talents from last year’s Rio Olympics.
Last night the most recent of these was announced – U.S. bantamweight silver medalist Shakur Stevenson was confirmed, joining Robson Conceicao, Teofimo Lopez, Antonio Vargas, Jeyvier Cintron, and Ireland’s Mick Conlan in the Top Rank stable.
Arum is now hoping to develop a fight between Conlan and Stevenson, who were on course to meet each other in the Olympic semi final before the Belfast man’s controversial exit, which would rival some of the biggest clashes in boxing history.
The veteran promoter told BoxingTalk.com that “my goal is in five years to have Shakur fight Conlan in a fight that will be bigger than Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.”
“I’m confident that both of these guys are superstars.”
Arum does not feel that he is being overly ambitious with his target and reasoned:
“Take Ray Leonard, an accomplished fighter, really terrific. He won the gold medal in Montreal in 1976, he won the welterweight champion[ship] by beating Wilfred Benitez in 1979 and in 1980 he fought Roberto Duran in the same city in Montreal and it was the biggest boxing event ever at that point. That was four fucking years, I’m giving myself one extra year which would mean when Leonard fought Hearns, Leonard was five years out of the amateurs and I think we can be on the same kind of schedule.”
Hearns and Leonard met at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1981 for the WBC and WBA 147lbs titles. Sugar Ray, who was down on the cards, would stop Hearns in the fourteenth round.
The pair would then rematch in 1989, again at Caesars Palace, for the WBC and WBO super middleweight titles. The fight would be ruled a draw amid much controversy with most feeling Hearns had won the fight.
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