Reacting to charges by his chief rival, Don King, that he is perpetrating a mismatch on the public, promoter Bob Arum said yesterday, "I couldn't care 2 cents' worth what Don King has to say."
King has accused Arum of the Top Rank Inc., promotional firm of New York City of "throwing Leon Spinks to the wolves for just a few dollars" in a heavyweight championship bout tomorrow night here against Muhammad Ali.
Arum not only defended the bout but was calling King's shots while the latter was applying for a license to promote here and then taking off to Washington to be a guest of President Carter at the White House today.
Arum said King is planning to match Larry Holmes against Earnie Shavers."
Arum is planning a bout in May, too, and it will involved Ali if he gets past Spinks which he is expected to do by such a solid consensus that there is no betting.
Implicitly ignoring the April 5 deadline for Ali to defend his title against Ken Norton, Arum said the champion would fight either Kallie Knoete of South Africa or Bernado Mercado of Puerto Rico, and then oppose Norton in September or October
Knoete recently knocked out Duane Bobick in Johannesburg and Arum remarked, "Knoete had said he was going to punish Bobick because of the United States' criticism of South Africa's racial policies."
"I have Ali signed to fight Norton, "Arum said. "I don't think I wil have any trouble signing Norton, because he wants Ali so badly."
King lost an opportunity to possibily get Ali into the ring for a title bout when Jimmy Young lost to Norton. Young has fought most of his important bouts for King, who lost Ali to Arum after King's U.S. Boxing Championships were suspended last year.
Arum said yesterday of King's criticism of the Ali-Spinks bout, "This will be one of the best - no, the best - title fight anybody has seen in a long, long time. That comes from Ali.
"Ali is in supershape, the best since he fought George Foreman (and regained the title). Ali knows what this kid is.
"I believe in Spinks. He is a real good fighter; he has the potential to be a great one. He'll never have an easier shot at the title because he is catchng Ali at hiw worst, near the end of his career.