There were numerous lawyers, judges, professors and business executives at the 40th reunion of the Harvard Law School class of ’56. . . .
But Bob Arum was the only boxing promoter. . . .
“The snooty guys from the prep schools and the eating clubs didn’t have much to say to me,” Arum said. “In other words, not much has changed since I was a student.” . . .
Arum, the oldest of three children of a Brooklyn accountant, graduated with honors from Harvard Law after having served as student council president at New York University. . . .
“Growing up in Brooklyn, I lived and died with the Dodgers before they moved to L.A.,” Arum said. “But I didn’t follow boxing at all.” . . .
The first fight he saw in person was one he promoted, Muhammad Ali vs. George Chuvalo in Toronto in 1966. . . .
“I was the attorney for Lester Malitz, who handled closed-circuit TV for the big fights,” Arum said. “I hired Jim Brown to do color commentary one night. Brown told me that I ought to become a promoter.” . . .
Arum laughed at Brown’s suggestion, but the Hall of Fame football star introduced him to Muhammad Ali. . . .
Ali and Arum hit it off. . . .
“Then I was interviewed by the Muslims and they made me Ali’s promoter,” Arum said. . . .
For the next 13 years, he practiced law and promoted fights. . . .
Once a partner of the famed Louie Nizer, he dissolved his own firm in 1979 to concentrate on the not-so-sweet science. . . .
“I don’t find boxing sleazy,” he said three days before what will be one of his most lucrative promotions, Julio Cesar Chavez-Oscar De La Hoya at Caesars Palace. “I prefer to think of it as exciting.” . . .
“Boxing always has been in need of heroes, marquee stars,” Arum said. “Mike Tyson is not a hero. I’m hoping that Oscar De La Hoya emerges as one.” . . .
Arum said there were eight women and one black in his Harvard Law School class of about 400. . . .
“The student body is far more diverse now,” he said. “But there are very few Hispanics.” . . .
During the reunion, Arum and school officials discussed the establishment of an Oscar De La Hoya scholarship for a deserving Latino student from Southern California. . . .
At 64, Arum has no plans to retire. . . .
“If I did, what would I do?” asked the only boxing promoter from Harvard Law. . . .
Ringside tickets, which were sold out long ago at $700 apiece, are being scalped for as much as $2,500. . . .
Among the perks for Chavez and De La Hoya are 35 complimentary tickets each, although that doesn’t begin to cover their entourages. . . .
Neither fighter is expected to have any trouble making the 140-pound limit at the weigh-in, which will be televised on ESPN Thursday at 3:30 p.m. . . .
Watching the fights Tuesday night at Arizona Charlie’s was Dean Chance, the 1964 Cy Young Award winner for the Angels and vice president of the International Boxing Council. . . .
“I’m doing as little as possible and everything I can afford,” Chance said. . . .
The International Boxing Federation fighter of the year is, who else, Francois Botha. . . .
I would hate to see Evander Holyfield risk his well-being in a bout against Mike Tyson. . . .
Azumah Nelson, 37 or older, looked as good as ever stopping James Leija in the sixth round last Saturday night. There probably isn’t a 130-pounder--or 135-pounder, for that matter--around who can beat Nelson. . . .
Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, on the selection of judges from England, Belgium and Thailand to work the main event on Friday: “Chavez’s enormous popularity in Mexico would make it difficult for a judge from that country to remain as neutral as possible.” . . .
The judges will be paid $5,000 apiece and referee Joe Cortez of Nevada $8,000. . . .
One of the reasons Cortez was hired is that he speaks Spanish. . . .
The politically correct king of the four-round heavyweights will wear trunks Friday that will be red, white and blue in the front, saying “Butterbean,” and green and red in the back, saying, “Frijole de Mantequilla.”