When Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum enters the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9 to promote the 30th card of his legendary career at the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” he will do so one day after turning 86.
Arum, the chairman and founder of Top Rank, doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon in terms of big moves after recently signing a four-year deal to air fights on ESPN. If you check out any recent interviews,.
In just over a week, Arum will promote one of the most unique bouts he has put together, pairing double Olympic gold medalists for the first time in boxing history when Vasyl Lomachenko defends his 130-pound title against fellow pound-for-pound technician Guillermo Rigondeaux (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET).
Due to its historic nature, it’s a fight that has produced a very reflective Arum, looking back upon his 50-plus years in the business. So if you’re wondering how Arum still does it at his age, and constantly travels the world brokering deals and searching for new talent, the “Bobfather” (or “Uncle Bob,” as he is endearingly referred to by the younger generation) revealed his secrets to longevity.
“The question is, if they gave me a VADA test, would I pass it?” Arum told CBS Sports on Wednesday during an appearance on the “In This Corner” podcast that will air next week. “I don’t take performance-enhancing drugs, I mean, but I come from Nevada. So it’s legal now and I have a puff every now and then. I plead guilty to that. Other than that, I keep my body in pretty good shape.”
Arum speaking out on the benefits of marijuana isn’t an altogether new revelation. Not only did he famously appear in the 1975 film “The Marijuana Affair,” he has advocated in the past for its decriminalization.
“I started [using marijuana] in 1966,” Arum said. “Kids, young kids shouldn’t do it because your brain is being formulated. But in 1966, I was in my 30s and I started. I don’t do it at work, I do it for recreation. It’s good for you, it’s good for you. Cannabis is good for you!
“It’s these damn people during the Nixon administration that really put cannabis into the position where it was a drug like heroin and cocaine and that was wrong. Now I think people in states like Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and soon California, people will be able to go into places and buy it legally like I do in Nevada.”
In 2012, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was suspended for nine months and faced a hefty fine after testing positive for marijuana in the aftermath of his middleweight championship loss to Sergio Martinez. Arum, who promoted Chavez at the time, spoke out in support of removing the drug as a banned substance.
“I was sorry that it happened, that he tested positive, but I’m not going to condemn a kid for smoking a joint a month before a fight to go to sleep,” Arum told FightHubTV in 2012. “What the f— has happened? I mean, let’s be real about it. Let’s not be hypocrite about it.
“Cheating, performance-enhancing drugs; that’s wrong. Smoking a joint a month before a fight? Take a poll here. What kind of percentage do you think of people who’ve smoked a joint in the last month? So let’s be f—— real!”