JFK Assassination: Legendary fight promoter shares incredible twist of fate, observationsWritten by Lee Cleveland
Tomorrow will mark the 54th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the most admired statesmen in US history.
The event is perhaps one of the most discussed unsolved mysteries in human history. Few accept the official verdict while many have attached themselves to conspiracy theories and conjecture.
In 2013, Yahoo! caught up with legendary fight promoter Bob Arum who shared his observations about that fateful day and how it would drastically impact his career and, subsequently, the future of boxing.
Several years after graduating from Harvard Law School, a 31 year old Arum worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the southern district of New York office headed by U.S. Attorney Robert Morgenthau.
According to Arum, then U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in 1963, offered him insight on what would happen after President Kennedy's expected re-election the following year.
The plan was for RFK to become U.S. Secretary of State, Arum's boss, Morganthau, would fill the attorney general slot and Arum, who had no interest in boxing at the time, would head the tax division of the U.S. Justice Department.
"Had those moves occurred, I'd probably be a retired federal judge now and someone else would have had to promote all those fights," said Arum, who will turn 86 next month, told Yahoo!.
Can you imagine boxing without hall of fame promoter Bob Arum? In what direction would the sport have gone without his significant contributions?
November 22, 1963
Everyone remembers where they were at what they were doing upon hearing the president had been shot and Arum is no exception. He was in a closed-door meeting while at work in the U.S. Attorney's office in New York when someone burst in to inform the participants of what had just transpired.
"Of course, we were all shocked, but we didn't have any details and all we knew was that he had been shot," Arum said. "We were all praying for him. Everyone was saying they hoped it was something minor, more of a superficial wound, and that this would be something easy for him to recover from. Sadly, as we all learned a little while later, that was not to be."
"Everyone had such great respect for the President. He was very, very inspiring, just a great leader. He was just getting used to being President, with all of the administrative duties he had, when he was assassinated."
In an instant, Arum's career would spiral in a different direction. Not only was there going to be a new administration, RFK’s contentious relationship with the incoming president sealed the fate of Arum’s impending promotion.
Shortly after JFK's death, the soon-to-be-promoter would leave the government and join the prestigious New York law firm of Phillip, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim and Ballon. And early in his stint there, he would be tasked with gathering assassination data for one of the firm's senior partners who had been selected to write the foreword to the Warren Commission report. The Warren Commission, of course, was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to investigate the assassination.
Arum would immerse himself into the many details of its 888 page report and play a major role in compiling data for its foreword.
An expert of the Kennedy Assassination, Arum concludes accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had become a Cuban secret agent and killed President Kennedy on orders from Cuba's then dictator Fidel Castro.
"I believe that Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald and Oswald alone, but that he was acting as an agent for Castro," Arum said. "I believe it's for that reason that even today, so many years later, that the U.S. will not recognize that Cuban government. It's why there is still an embargo on Cuba. Otherwise, it makes no sense."
As recently as September 2017, Cuban Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cabanas, called for an end to the U.S.-Cuba embargo, a request Cuban officials make at the U.N. General Assembly annually.
Castro's presumed motivation?
Arum insists Fidel wanted payback.
"Kennedy was involved in a huge number of plots to assassinate Castro," Arum added.
"After all the research I had done, I had become convinced that Oswald did this on behalf of the Cuban government, and nothing that has come up since has made me believe otherwise.
"The Oliver Stone movie [JFK] was total [expletive]. It was just fiction. And there is all of this other [expletive] out there with these crazy theories. To me, the evidence points at Oswald and no one else, but it's obvious when you know everything else, Oswald was hired to do this for the Cubans."
A member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and longtime rival of Don King, Bob Arum used his education and business guile to become a boxing promoter, and has been a driving force behind the sport since the 1980s.