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


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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