DALLAS, MGM GRAND VIE FOR PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER FIGHT
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Fri, 04 Dec 2009
Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao hasn’t signed off yet on a deal to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr in March 13 but the struggle is on by competing venues which has basically boiled down to the billion dollar Dallas Cowboys spanking new stadium in Texas and the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, although Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says the New Orleans Superdome is also interested but in his words “has a small chance.”
www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports had a lengthy conversation with Arum along with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN at the New World Hotel following his arrival early morning on Wednesday from Las Vegas.
Arum was in town for two specific purposes. One was to present Pacquiao with the terms of an agreement that the Mayweather camp represented by Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had apparently agreed to and to sign a major contract with the giant Philippine broadcast network ABS-CBN that will have exclusive rights to the many exciting fight cards promoted by Top Rank, except those of Pacquiao who has a separate contract with Solar Sports.
Arum disclosed that he along with Schaefer and Ross Greenburg of HBO are meeting with the owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team and the new arena which eliminates building a stadium in Las Vegas to accommodate the crowd even as he pointed out that the weather in March in Las Vegas is questionable.
He disclosed that for the :”Fire Power” showdown between Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto they had a sell-out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and another 16,000 on closed circuit TV in the town.
Arum said the Dallas Arena seats 100,000 with unbelievable screens that was just built at a cost of about $1.5 billion and “its like a wonder of the world.” He also said the weather is not a problem because if it rains the roof comes over. Besides Arum said the tax situation is the same as Las Vegas with no State income tax so that doesn’t present a problem for Manny or for Floyd as New York would, since it has a 14 percent tax.
Asked whether he had a preference for a venue Arum answered frankly, “money is going to talk.”
Arum indicated he didn’t want to convince Pacquiao to fight Mayweather on March 13 because “its his life” but said “ I just want to lay it all out and let him make his own decision.”
Pushing for a March 13 date Arum said that should Pacquiao agree there will be a lot of media personnel coming to the Philippines “to go to that (congressional) district to talk to people and everything and that alone is tremendous publicity. They’ll have American television all over that district before the March fight and they can show that he (Pacquiao) is doing something positive for the region. Absolutely.”
Arum added that journalists “are going to come from all over the world . He will get more publicity out of it because he will be participating . running up to the campaign in the biggest sporting event of our time – bigger than the football, bigger than anything.”
Noting that the sport of boxing has re-established itself because of Pacquiao, Arum said if he doesn’t fight it will be a letdown for the sport but “mostly a letdown for himself because I can hear Mayweather crowing. Then he would have won the fight without having to throw a punch. And Manny will never, never be able to repair it.”
Arum said that he hasn’t seen anything like the clamor for a Pacquao-Mayweather fight “in a long, long time where everybody, everybody wherever I go say to me when is the Manny-Mayweather fight going to happen, where is it going to happen or is it going to happen? Its not just the United States its everybody in the world . Therefore the truth is that if for any reason Manny doesn’t want to go through with that fight, his popularity among those people is going to really be diminished because it will look to these people that he is ducking Mayweather.”
Arum remarked that if the Mayweather camp said its May 1st or there’s no fight then okay, no problem. But they didn’t say that.” Arum said he had been told that Pacquiao can’t campaign until March 25 so March 13 is a perfect, perfect date. Everybody has to work hard. We got to decide right away and get to it.”
Top photo: Top Rank president Bob Arum (L) being interviewed by the author at the New World Renaissance Hotel in Makati Thursday.
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