By CARLO ANOLIN
Top Rank chief Bob Arum likened Manny Pacquiao to Muhammad Ali for his contributions both inside and outside of the boxing ring following his retirement from the sport earlier this week.
And for Arum, Pacquiao’s former promoter, “nobody else comes close” to Ali but the Filipino boxing legend.
“When you get somebody like Manny Pacquiao, as great a fighter as he was, you don’t focus on (his boxing). The focus is on his other attributes,” Arum told World Boxing News’ Dan Rafael. “What a wonderful, caring human being he is. It’s almost like (Muhammad) Ali. When people talk to me about Ali, they talk about his speed, and this and that, and I really begin to tune them out.
“For me, Ali means so much more. Same thing with Pacquiao. I don’t want to demean what he accomplished in the ring because it was great, but for me, that’s already faded away,” added Arum.
Arum’s personal favorite in Pacquiao’s storied fighting career is against Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao, who turned his focus to his presidential campaign, beat De La Hoya via corner stoppage in December 2008 and scored a technical knockout win over Cotto in November 2009.
Those two wins were part of Pacquiao’s 15-match win streak from September 2005 until he dropped a split decision loss to Timothy Bradley in June 2012.
After Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Jeff Horn in July 2017, Arum had parted ways with the Filipino fighting senator. But the 89-year-old Arum admitted the two of them remained as friends, kept in touch, and talked “just like normal people.”
“We went our separate ways because after the Horn fight, I really didn’t think he should fight anymore,” explained Arum. “I wasn’t as enthused about promoting him as I had been before. And then certainly, because of the reaction of the public, I wasn’t up to guaranteeing him the same money I had previously.”
Arum was one of the many people Pacquiao thanked in his final message upon retirement, a month after losing to Cuban Olympic boxer Yordenis Ugas in their super WBA welterweight title bout.
“I want to recognize my former promoter Bob Arum and his team at Top Rank promotion for negotiating and staging most of my biggest fights and successful events in my career. Thank you,” said the 42-year-old Pacquiao