The Fabulous Forum

The who, what, where, when, why — and why not — of L.A. sports

Bob Arum leaves 'em laughing -- and reporters crying

Bob Arum, left, and boxer Manny Pacquiao

Ever suffered through a scene when it's not polite to laugh, but you're busting up so hard inside that tears are streaming down your face? If so, you can probably relate to what happened to several reporters on Wednesday when Top Rank promoter Bob Arum absolutely butchered the introduction of a Filipino dignitary.

During the final news conference for the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao 147-pound fight on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Arum was charged with introducing associates and dignitaries who had accompanied Pacquiao, including the fighter's business manager and a visiting former governor of a northern province in the Philippines.

Arum obviously was struggling to identify the gentleman wearing the orangish-pink shirt on the end of the stage. He hurriedly walked to Pacquiao and asked for help in pronouncing the name of the man whom Arum already had described as a "very famous person."

"Governor Takajing!" Arum announced.

No, interrupted Pacquiao, pronouncing the name to his promoter (who sometimes can't hear very well).

"Governor Takeajoo," Arum tried again.


"Governor ... whatever," Arum said.

I felt awful for the governor, but Arum's linguistic battle was so hilarious, I was crying, as were other reporters at my table.

The mystery man's name is Luis "Chavit" Singson.

-- Lance Pugmire

Editor's note: It is Luis "Chavit" Singson. Correction made at 7:42 a.m.

Photo: Boxing promoter Bob Arum, left, and boxer Manny Pacquiao arrive on Tuesday at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Ticket issues with De La Hoya-Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, acknowledged Wednesday that a Filipino businessman whom he declined to identify deceived Arum by telling him he needed to buy "a couple hundred" tickets for Saturday's Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The man, Arum said, had described himself as "someone affiliated with Manny," who needed the tickets to sell as part of travel packages for Filipinos who wanted to watch the fight in person.

Arum said he has since established the man's only motive was to scalp the tickets for higher prices on the secondary market, like eBay.

"They lied to me, and now they're paying for it," Arum said. "The economy went so south they're lucky to sell them at face prices, and most are going at below face. That was wrong, and they've complained to me about losing money. I told 'em, 'You win some, you lose some.' "

The situation illustrates flaws in how tickets to high-profile sporting events are distributed (or not) to the public. De La Hoya-Pacquiao is boxing's Super Bowl this year, and like the big game itself, a sizable percentage of tickets were set aside for promoters, sponsors, the fighters and others before the public ever had a chance to buy them.

The bout was declared a sellout in less than two hours, but Arum revealed Pacquiao himself bought "$500,000 to $600,000" in tickets to distribute to friends, family and political figures in the Philippines, where he once unsuccessfully ran for a national office.

And tickets in all price ranges remain for sale through the MGM Grand box office after HBO's reconfigured production control freed up "a couple hundred" seats, according to an MGM spokesman.

"People can be upset, they have the right to [swear] at [the Filipino businessman], but at least they are getting the tickets cheaper now," Arum said. "Thanks to the economy, he's made bargains for people who want to go to this fight."

--Lance Pugmire

Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito to fight Jan. 24

Top Rank officials just called to say that the Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito welterweight fight is scheduled for Jan. 24 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. HBO will televise the bout on its regular premium service rather than pay-per-view.

A spokesman for Top Rank executive Bob Arum said HBO provided some additional money to tempt world welterweight champion Margarito, who last week said he didn't want to be involved in a bout with Pomona's four-time world champion Mosley.

Check back with the Fabulous Forum for details.

-- Lance Pugmire

Does Kelly Pavlik's failure bode poorly for Manny Pacquiao?

Manny Pacquiao A few months ago, promoter Bob Arum was riding high with two unbeaten world champions (Miguel Cotto and Kelly Pavlik) and Manny Pacquiao, the world's top pound-for-pound fighter.

Now, Cotto has suffered a knockout loss to Antonio Margarito, and Pavlik is recovering from a decisive loss to Bernard Hopkins. That bout was fought at 170 pounds, 10 pounds greater than Pavlik's middleweight limit. The added pounds resulted in a lesser fighter.

In training for his 147-pound fight against Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, Pacquiao will be boxing at a weight limit 12 pounds beyond his 135-pound limit as world lightweight champion.

"It's not going to happen to Pacquiao," Arum said Monday as he surveyed his fighter's training session at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. "I've never seen him so fast or strong, and he works so hard. And he's in his low 150s now. He is not ballooning up. You'll see a fit Manny Pacquiao, with a lot of speed -- 147 will be perfect for him."

Hard to tell when Arum's promoting or preaching the truth, but we'll know for sure in 39 days.

-- Lance Pugmire

Editor's note: Pacquiao's weight limit corrected at 12:17 p.m.

Photo: Manny Pacquiao at work in preparation for his upcoming fight. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

Talkin' boxing at poolside in Beverly Hills: Mosley to Margarito

The main entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Some days in this business, you feel like you've got a bit part in a good film -- even if the cameras are nowhere to be found.

That was today, when I was speeding through westbound traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard headed for a poolside lunch appointment with boxing promoters Bob Arum and Richard Schaefer at the famed Beverly Hills Hotel.

With the stereo blaring The Doors on a postcard day from 90210, I weaved down the road past the dyed-blonde-mohawk guy on rollerskates and the glistening woman emerging from a health club to find Bill Caplan, the longtime Arum publicist who was ready with a quick history lesson about our meeting place.

"Roy Jones Jr. refused to stay overnight in L.A. before his [2001] fight with Julio Cesar Gonzalez, he was afraid of earthquakes," Caplan said. So Arum, a frequent guest at the posh hotel, told Jones he'd set him up in a one-floor hotel villa where Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had lived years before. Jones checked it out, loved it, and successfully defended his world light-heavyweight titles days later.

As a few guests splashed around in the pool, Schaefer showed up with news that his boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley is in "serious" talks with Arum's world welterweight champion Antonio Margarito for a January fight. Arum confirmed it, noting that agreeing to such a deal would put Margarito in position for a richer future payday with Oscar De La Hoya, Schaefer's business partner. Schaefer said De La Hoya will definitely not retire after his Dec. 6 fight with Manny Pacquiao unless he's beaten badly. (The fighters will be in East L.A. today at noon for a public news conference, hosted by actor/comedian George Lopez, at the Whittier Boulevard arch).

The key to Mosley-Margarito, both promoters said, is how much HBO is willing to invest in these troubled times where company stock has taken a hard tumble and subscribers may be downsizing the pay channel from their budgets. The promoters prefer the bout to be on HBO, not HBO pay-per-view.

When someone noted the Dow was down hundreds of points again Monday, Schaefer, a former Swiss banker, gave a round-table assessment that should've been televised by CNBC. He said he's following the direction of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who is investing, not selling off assets.

Arum, as always, was good for a colorful story. When the presidential race became a topic Monday, Arum recalled De La Hoya's narrow decision victory over Pernell Whitaker last decade. Sen. John McCain was so upset that De La Hoya had won, he was seen yelling from his ringside seat. Arum, then promoting De La Hoya, said he told McCain to "shut up," and "go work on some legislation."

Bet he wouldn't say that now.

The day ended with Caplan directing me to a private hotel room, where HBO needed to film my opinions about De La Hoya-Pacquiao. I found the room, but we had spent so much time yapping poolside, the cameramen had left.

They should've been down at the pool.

-- Lance Pugmire 

Photo: The sign at the main entrance to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Credit: Beverly Hills Hotel.     

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