Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Golden Boy CEO pulls out of tour
By Dan Rafael
For unspecified reasons, Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is out of the running to host the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather super fight, Top Rank's Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
Arum, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who will co-promote the nearly finalized fight, and HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg were supposed to meet with Cowboys officials at the stadium on Wednesday for a tour of the facility and to talk with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about a site fee for the fight.
However, Arum said he received a call from Schaefer on Tuesday night canceling the trip.
"Richard called me last night and said he won't go to Texas," Arum said. "And I told him to call Ross and tell him. And then I called Ross and said, 'You don't want me to go if he's not going. If Jerry Jones offers me money for the fight what is Pacquiao going to do? Go in the ring alone?' Schaefer just said, 'I'm not going to Texas. I'm not going to do the fight in Texas. I'm not going to waste my time.' That's the explanation."
Arum said he asked why and Schaefer's response was, "'The fight is March 13 and there isn't enough time to do a fight at an outdoor stadium.' It's bizarre, but that's what he said. I reminded him [that the stadium has a retractable roof]. He said it doesn't matter. I am not going to theorize. I'm just telling you what happened."
The Cowboys declined to comment when reached by ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday.
Arum, who turned 78 on Tuesday, was having a dinner party for his birthday at his Las Vegas home and was planning to leave at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.
"I was planning to get up early and then the bombshell happened," Arum said. "Richard called and that's where we are. He may have a real good reason why he wouldn't consider Dallas. The reason he gave me, frankly, makes no sense. Maybe he has another reason that he didn't articulate it to me. But we had airline tickets booked and the three of us planned to rendezvous in Dallas and then go out to the stadium."
Jones is interested in bringing big events to his new stadium -- which could seat as many as 100,000 for a fight -- and landing Pacquiao-Mayweather was one he had in mind.
Greenburg, who was in his office in New York when reached Wednesday, had no comment. The fight will be televised on HBO PPV.
Schaefer wouldn't address the reasons he called off the trip to Texas, telling ESPN.com, "This is a fight our side wants and we are working very hard to finalize it. The next time you hear from us is when we have a signed deal or the negotiations have fallen apart. I want to get a deal done and once a deal is done then we will be available for comments. Until then, there is no comment from our side."
There has been interest from other venues, including the Superdome in New Orleans, although Las Vegas, specifically the MGM Grand, is believed to be the front-runner to host what many believe will be the richest fight in boxing history. The MGM, which has a close relationship with Golden Boy and Top Rank, has hosted several Pacquiao and Mayweather bouts, including their most recent fights -- Mayweather's shutout decision of Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19 and Pacquiao's 12th-round knockout of Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14.
The Miami Dolphins are also interested in hosting the fight at Land Shark Stadium, going so far as to send out e-mails to their season-ticket holders to gauge their interest in buying tickets for the event.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.