Veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum is like a veritable boxing deity.
You can look up the names and they speak for themselves: Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns. He's either promoted some of the best boxers in the word or arranged fights between them. So, when he speaks about Conor McGregor's alleged aspirations for boxing, you listen.
“The kid is very, very smart,” Arum said to USA TODAY Sports. “[Conor McGregor] knows what he is doing and he is trying to change the game.”
The million — or perhaps the $100 million question — is if McGregor is actually considering boxing at all with his new license? He may not even intend to step into the ring.
“McGregor is dealing with a monopoly situation with the UFC,” Arum said. “He has got to have leverage if he is going to get paid what he wants. He is not going to go out and become his own promoter and stage his own fights in mixed martial arts, so his only leverage is to say he is going to be a boxer and try to panic the UFC into a better deal.”
This is the smart angle in which Arum uses to illustrate McGregor's intelligence. With McGregor you have a guy who wants equity in the company, has just been stripped of a title he won at #UFC205 while he slept in his bed and already had a power struggle with the UFC back before #UFC200. Dana White says he has 'no idea' what McGregor is going to do with his license, but this boxing thing may just be McGregor inching his hand further towards the cookie jar while his mother says no.
“They are two different sports and based on past experience it is madness to think he could step right in without any problem,” Arum said. “However, if he could listen to reason and come in and fight at an entry level then there could be something to work with. To think that he could come and fight one of the best fighters ever in Mayweather right away would be ludicrous.”
If McGregor truly is going to pursue boxing, Arum advises him not to do the CM Punk route so-to-speak and start at the very bottom of the sport. However, with a massive name like McGregor and the even larger purse he'd demand, it's hard to imagine him boxing anyone but the biggest names. ...Especially when so many boxers are already calling him out.