IF ever a statement needed to be made about who is the super star of boxing today, HBO has made it clear its choice is Manny Pacquiao and not Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s confidence that HBO would pick Pacquiao was confirmed at the kick-off press conference for Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey at the Dallas Cowboys $1.2-billion stadium in Texas.
Arum also announced that the 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 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 predicted last week that it would be the biggest and best press conference in boxing history and he wasn’t wrong.
“It was a fun announcement. With the stature of Pacquiao, we’re going to be able to put on a unique fight,” Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times quoted Jones as saying. Arum told Standard Today 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: “I needed this today. Before I came here, I didn’t have the usual juice in me. I was dragging.”
At the press conference, Pacquiao was his usual polite and humble self.
“It’s going to be a good fight. Clottey’s a good fighter, a top fighter and he’s bigger than me. I have to prepare hard for this fight and train hard and focus,” said Pacquiao, knowing that Clottey is a brawler, can take a punch and can also hit hard.
For his part, Clottey was full of respect and admiration for Pacquiao but warned the Filipino boxing icon: “This fight is going to be a hell of a fight. I love Manny Pacquiao. He is one of my favorite fighters. He’s a throwback fighter. If you throw at him, he’ll throw back at you. I know what I’m going to face”
Pacquiao was in awe at the sheer magnitude of the fight in a high-end stadium like Dallas. “It’s amazing. I feel like a football player.”
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.