Boxing: Pacquiao wraps up deal for Clottey
AP Sports Writer
Manny Pacquiao will fight March 13 at Cowboys Stadium, but not against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said Sunday he has finalized a deal to match Pacquiao against Joshua Clottey in a welterweight bout at the new $1.2 billion stadium. Arum moved swiftly to land a lucrative fight for his Filipino star after his contentious negotiations for a megafight with Mayweather fell apart in a prolonged dispute over blood testing.
Arum was in Texas over the weekend to wrap up details for the pay-per-view fight, which will be the first boxing match in the stadium. Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels said the arena will be configured to seat 50,000 fans for the fight, but the capacity could be raised or lowered.
"This stadium has blown me away," Arum told The Associated Press. "It is the most magnificent facility I've ever seen."
Arum took in the Dallas Cowboys' playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night, sitting just two seats from former President George W. Bush. Arum said Bush had the same reaction he's heard repeatedly since negotiations with Mayweather bogged down
"Too bad you didn't get Mayweather, but what difference does it make?" Arum said Bush told him. "Everybody just wants see Pacquiao anyway."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly offered a $25 million site fee for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, which fell apart over Mayweather's insistence on stringent drug testing and Pacquiao's reluctance to agree. The sides went into mediation to resolve the dispute, but a compromise couldn't be reached.
And though Arum is a longtime New York Giants season ticket-holder, he found common ground with Jones for another major event in the opulent new stadium.
"This is a competitive fight, as competitive as the Cotto fight going in," Arum said. "We got a tremendous deal at the site. It's a big event, and I think we'll do unbelievable."
Although Mayweather's representatives still were holding out hope the Pacquiao fight could be salvaged, Mayweather also is expected to fight March 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, which would have been the site of his bout with Pacquiao. Paulie Malignaggi has been the most popular contender for that fight.
Although Clottey has no fraction of Mayweather's fame, he's a worthy welterweight opponent for Pacquiao, widely considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The hard-hitting Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs), a native of Ghana who lives in New York, is coming off a split-decision loss to Miguel Cotto last June, a fight that some felt Clottey won.
Cotto went on to take a thrashing from Pacquiao in November, losing when the fight was stopped in the final round.
AP Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg contributed to this report.