Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Manny Pacquiao eyes Cowboys' home
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Boxing promoter Bob Arum said he's going to finalize a deal to bring a Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight to Cowboys Stadium on Nov. 13 for a vacant junior middleweight title.
Arum said he will meet with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in Dallas on Wednesday. Brett Daniels, vice president of corporate communication for the Cowboys, confirmed the meeting will take place.
"Jerry is a friend of mine and I think we'll make a deal," Arum said Tuesday. "Do I know for sure? Of course not, but we have a past history and there's a feeling that because Margarito is Hispanic and [Joshua] Clottey, to be honest about it, was virtually unknown to the public, that this would do better. Jerry thinks we'll do 70,000. The Hispanic fans have followed Margarito."
Pacquiao drew 50,994 fans as he easily outpointed Clottey in the first boxing card at Cowboys Stadium on March 13.
There is a big sticking point regarding this fight.
Margarito is not licensed to fight in the United States after serving a one-year suspension in the state of California for a hand-wrapping scandal that engulfed him before his fight with Shane Mosley in January 2009. Margarito, who returned to fight in Mexico in May after the revocation period expired, applied for a license in Nevada, but that state commission tabled a decision until California made a decision to reinstate.
Margarito has an Aug. 18 hearing before the California State Athletic Commission.
"We feel confident," Arum said. "We're going to follow the rules of the [Association of Boxing Commissions]. Whatever decision is made, the other states are free to act independently."
Arum added: "I can't talk for Texas, but I'm very optimistic. I don't even think a hearing [in Texas] will be particularly necessary, but it's up to them. If they want a hearing, that's fine."
The Cowboys are in East Rutherford, N.J., to play the New York Giants the weekend of the proposed fight.
Arum said the possibility of having the fight in Abu Dhabi was dead, but left open the possibility of having a fight there in the future.
Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, was in the Middle Eastern emirate last week and was unable to close a deal.
"Michael went over there and the people we were dealing with had no clout," Arum said. "Then he met with the people who had the clout but they didn't have enough time to put it together. But Michael made a good impression on them and it is certainly something that we could do in the figure. But right now, I am going to Dallas to make a deal."
If Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) beats Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) for a vacant alphabet 154-pound belt it would give Pacquiao a world title in eight weight divisions. Pacquiao already holds the record with titles in seven divisions.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys and boxing for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag. ESPN.com's Dan Rafael contributed to this report.