Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum is ready to jump into the fray of presidential politics.
This week, on successive nights, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump made guest appearances on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Both fiery candidates indicated that they were primed for a political boxing match with one another. When jabbed with the idea, Trump characteristically responded, "We would have such high ratings and I think I should take that money and give it to some worthy charity."
Arum was as quick as his fighter Pacquiao to respond. "It's the debate of the century between two of the top pound for pound politicians in the country -- Mr. Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive nominee and Senator Sanders, the Democratic candidate," said Arum, CEO and Founder of Top Rank. "We have two contenders ready, willing and able to go mano a mano over the most important issues facing the United States. And I am ready to promote it."
Half-chuckling but ready to work on the contracts, Arum let his guard drop in a recent telephone interview. Never one to hold his views back, Arum grumbled, "I think both Trump and Sanders are clowns of a different sort but clowns just the same." On Arum's analysis, Sanders has his head in the clouds. Arum said, "He wants to raise taxes and give everything away for free. Trump literally doesn't have a plan and a debate would show just how farcical they both are. Sanders and Trump are just stirring people up and getting everyone angry but that anger is unproductive and going nowhere."
While Arum agreed that the moderators in this closed-circuit tussle would be subject to the candidates' approval, he had some suggestions of his own: "I would like to propose Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Mitt Romney. Clinton because she is the only one with the knowledge and experience to be able to get things done. Cruz because he has definite positions with which I disagree, but are clear, and Romney... well because he is the most presidential."
Arum acknowledged that he has not heard from either candidate, nor was he optimistic about pulling this main event off, but stranger things have happened in the realm of the ring. No one knows better than this boxing impresario that you have to put some honey out to attract the bears. Arum teased, "I have to make a little profit on this myself but 80% of the net proceeds will go to the charity or charities of the candidates' choice, agreed upon in advance, with a minimum of $20 million being donated."
I can hear Michael Buffer now, "Let's get ready to rumble!"