By Tim Fletcher: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is really looking to enhance the April 9 HBO pay-per-view card headlined by Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley. On Wednesday, Arum said that he was going to try and add a heavyweight clash between contender Andy Ruiz and Ike Ibeabuchi and WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham and unbeaten #1 WBO Gilberto Ramirez.
The Abraham-Ramirez fight will be the co-feature bout if Arum can put it together. It could be difficult for him to get that fight for the card, as Abraham normally fights in Germany, where he is a huge draw. Abraham does not need to fight in the U.S in order to make good money. He’s well paid for his fights in Germany, and there’s no point in him coming to America to defend against a little known fighter like Ramirez.
Whether either of those fights ever materializes is still unknown at this point. Never the less, this shows that Arum is putting in an effort to put together a quality undercard for Pacquiao’s next fight in April on HBO. This is a big difference from what we have been seeing from Arum in some of Pacquiao’s previous fight cards against Floyd Mayweather Jr, Chris Algieri, Bradley and Brandon Rios.
Those fight cards were just awful in my view. For example, the co-feature bout on the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was a terrible mismatch between Vasyl Lomachenko and Gamalier Rodriguez. I do not know how much money Arum put into making this fight, but my guess is not too much. The rest of the undercard had obscure fighters. It was pretty much the same with Pacquiao’s undercards for his fights against Bradley in 2014, Algieri and Rios.
Everything looked like it was done cheaply in terms of the undercards and even in the main events. Those were all mismatches except for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
The Ibeabuchi-Ruiz fight will not happen unless Ibeabuchi can get his boxing license to fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is where the fight will be taking place at the MGM Grand. Ibeabuchi just was released from prison last year after having served 15 years for an alleged sexual assault and a separate battery.
Even if Arum can successfully add the Ibeabuchi vs. Ramirez and Abraham vs. Martinez fights to the Pacquiao-Bradley 3 card, he still will need to add at least one more high quality fight to the card in order to attract the casual boxing fans. There is nothing wrong with Ibeabuchi-Ruiz and Abraham-Martinez, but the casual fans in America likely have no clue who any of these guys are. Ibeabuchi would have been a star in America if he did not go to prison, but he has been locked up for 15 years and the newer fans likely have no clue who he is.