Wednesday, January 20, 2010


If ever a statement needed to be made about who is the super star of boxing today, HBO has made it clear that the preeminent sports TV network’s choice is pound-for-pound hero Manny Pacquiao and not Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s confidence that HBO would pick Pacquiao was confirmed at the huge kick-off press conference for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title defense against tough Joshua Clottey at the spectacular Dallas Cowboys $1.2 billion stadium in Texas when Arum announced that the “awful business” of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to stage a Mayweather fight against an unnamed opponent on the same March 13 date was dead.

Pacquiao and Clottey were greeted by the famous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and owner Jerry Jones along with over 1,500 fans including big names in Texas for the press conference to launch “The Event” which Arum believes will draw a crowd of some 40,000 to the venue.

Arum had predicted last week that it would be the biggest and best press conference in boxing history and he wasn’t wrong.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times quoted Cowboys and the state-of-the-art stadium owner Jones as saying "It was a fun announcement. With the stature of Pacquiao, we're going to be able to put on a unique fight."

Arum told us earlier that Jones was disappointed at the loss of his team to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoffs but added, “he’s got Pacquiao and that should make him very happy.”

Jones told The LA Times he appreciated having “some coming excitement” adding "I needed this today. Before I came here, I didn't have the usual juice in me. I was dragging."

Tickets will cost much less than if the fight was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where only top celebrities, high rollers and Filipino and Filipino-American fans who hero-worship Pacquiao watch the fights at the venue.

With ringside tickets costing $700 and other seats a mere $50 which will go on sale on Sunday Arum believes that they may exceed the original estimate of 40,000 fans and indicated that if more seats are needed they could have around 60,000.

Arum who watched a previous Dallas Cowboys game seated in the presidential box with former US President George Bush and his wife Laura Bush, told us the high-definition four-sided video screens were “incredible” and that he often caught the action on the TV screens rather than watching the field directly.

According to Pugmire, Jerry Jones revealed he would bring down the 160-foot-long, 72-foot-high HD video screen to just 30 feet above the ring on fight night, improving the proximity in which fans can view the blow-by-blow action.

Jones was quoted as saying "I'm proud of this, I always envisioned boxing in this venue. One of the things that motivates me is the idea that first impressions are important. It's why I wanted Pacquiao here. He has the meat on the bones of his persona, charisma and talent, but then there's the story of how he got here from the Philippines, how he evolved, and what he means to his country, the Philippines. An entire country follows him. The fans here appreciate that, and he's a great fighter.”

Jones added, “To get this fight, to have it in this venue, it's going to be a happening."


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