After hosting a record-breaking NBA All-Star Week, Dallas prepares for the big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey on March 13. By all indications, the Dallas area and its fans are ready to host another grand event and all-set to watch Pacquiao deliver another knockout show.
“I can’t wait to see Pacquiao in action here in Dallas," exclaimed Ronald “Popeye" Jones, former 11-year veteran for the Mavericks turned Mavericks Player Development Coach. “You see that burning fire in Pacquiao to win, to be successful. It’s the same fire that Michael Jordan had."
Perhaps that’s what drove Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones to aggressively lure Pacquiao away from the bright lights of Las Vegas and into the first-rate amenities of Cowboys Stadium. Jones really wanted to host Pacquiao versus Mayweather. Mayweather has cemented his place in boxing history. Pacquiao has done likewise while turning himself into one of the hottest commodities in professional sports.
It makes perfect sense, therefore, for Jones to unite the Michael Jordan of contemporary boxing with the Hercules of football stadiums. Jones wanted to bring boxing’s pound-for-pound king into the newest sports capital of Texas. Even former Maverick and Pacquiao fan Steve Nash was impressed with Jones’ sports cathedral. “People (who watched the NBA All-Star game) felt they were in the coolest sports bar of all-time with the biggest wide screen TV in the world."
Last week, tall buildings and posh hotels in Dallas were covered with gigantic billboards promoting the NBA All-Star game. In the coming days, however, expect Pacquiao’s intense face to replace oversized action shots of Nowitzki, Bryant, James and Garnett. And fans are eager to turn Dallas from All-Star town to Pacquiao city.
“I paid extra to make sure I’ll watch Pacquiao from a nicer seat," James Farias, 26, Texas-native and food server for a popular Tex-Mex restaurant in the Dallas area, said. “I just hope Pacquiao doesn’t beat Clottey too easily. After all, I’m paying to see Manny not Clottey."
There’s a Pacquiao-Clottey billboard on the freeway and excited fans on the streets. On this trip, we met Mavericks/Cowboys fans who have become Pacquiao believers. Tickets for Pacquiao-Clottey were reportedly sold out as early as three weeks ago. A ticket was said to cost anywhere from 50 USD to 700 USD. Fans still without tickets have no choice but to purchase them from third-parties.
It’s a problem basketball Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman, a boxing fan since the glory days of her good friend Muhammad Ali, won’t have. She made sure she got her VIP tickets weeks ago. “Pacquiao will be fighting here in Dallas and I’ll be there for the fight."