Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Updated: May 13, 10:17 AM ET
Jones: 120,000 possible for megafight
By Calvin Watkins
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Wednesday that he wants to host boxing's biggest fight -- Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao.
And Jones believes he can draw more than 100,000 fans.
Promoter Bob Arum said Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas are the two candidates for hosting such a fight.
Jones confirmed that two dates -- Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 -- are available for a possible boxing match because the Cowboys are on the road those weekends.
Jones hosted the first boxing match at his $1.2 billion stadium on March 13, when Pacquiao won a 12-round decision over Joshua Clottey in front of 50,994 -- the third-largest crowd for an indoor fight in boxing history.
Now, Jones is thinking bigger.
"There's no doubt in my mind we would break every record of attendance that anybody's ever seen for boxing," Jones said. "And I think it would be a real plus for boxing to expose that many people live to a great fight like that. That's what we got to sell -- and that's what we got to be selling -- if given the opportunity.
"The magic that would be involved having over 100,000. ... There's no question in my mind we would maybe approach maybe 120,000 for that fight."
Cowboys Stadium set a basketball attendance record in February when 108,713 fans showed up for the NBA All-Star Game.
The outdoor boxing attendance record was set in Mexico City on Feb. 20, 1993. A reported 136,274 attended the Julio Cesar Chavez-Greg Haugen WBC welterweight bout at Estadio Azteca.
The largest indoor attendance was 63,315 for the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks heavyweight title bout in 1978 at the Louisiana Superdome.
But just getting Pacquiao and Mayweather in a ring together will take some work.
The last time these two talked about fighting each other, money wasn't the problem. The sticking point was agreeing on Olympic-style drug testing.
Arum and Jones wouldn't get into specifics if drug testing would again be a problem in getting this fight to happen.
"The negotiations are the negotiations," Arum said. "And a lot of nice things happen if people negotiate in good faith and if people want something to happen and to negotiate without going through the media."
Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's adviser, said the fighter went on vacation following his May 1 victory over Shane Mosley to "examine his financial portfolio, which has $40 million more in it than it did on May 1. We ain't thinking about Bob Arum or Manny Pacquiao."
Arum said he's not married to having the fight in Arlington. But if Mayweather-Pacquiao can't become a reality, Antonio Margarito could be another possible opponent for Pacquiao at Cowboys Stadium.
Margarito, however, is not currently licensed to fight in the United States. He was banned by the state of California and suspended for a year for using illegal hand wraps in a loss to Mosley in January 2009. He still must reapply to any state to regain his license, but most states will not license Margarito until he's reinstated by California.
In his first fight since the suspension, Margarito defeated Roberto Garcia by decision Saturday in Mexico.
Margarito was placed on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Clottey fight, but he was taken off the card when the state of Texas requested a hearing.
Arum said his promotional firm didn't have enough time to prepare for a hearing, but this time it would because the next scheduled bout for Margarito would be in November.
But it's clear: The fight Arum wants is Pacquiao-Mayweather.
"I've got my marching orders," Arum said.
"I'm no genius, but I'm just going along with what seems to be common sense. If you want your product shown to the biggest possible audience, you have to put it in the biggest possible arena."
Calvin Watkins covers boxing and the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.