The super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is officially dead, as Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he closed a deal Sunday for Pacquiao to meet Joshua Clottey in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium on March 13.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is thrilled to land a bout featuring Pacquiao, who is widely regarded as the top boxer in the world. And while he's disappointed he won't be hosting a Pacquiao fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. as he had hoped, he said he doesn't see Pacquiao-Clottey as a consolation prize.
"This is a very significant fight and I'm truly ecstatic," Jones told Yahoo! Sports by telephone on Sunday. "From the time we began work on the stadium, I envisioned bringing boxing here. We have a very large Hispanic fan base surrounding us and they're very loyal boxing fans. I think they'll be thrilled with this event."
Jones said he considered naming the stadium Vaqueros de Cowboys, which is Spanish for Dallas Cowboys, in homage to the many Hispanics in the area.
Arum and his stepson, Top Rank president Todd duBoef, attended the Cowboys' playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday and sat with Jones as his guests in his private box.
Arum said he met former President George W. Bush at the game, who said he would attend the fight if he does not have a speaking engagement that night.
"He was excited about the fight and he said to me, 'Who needs [Mayweather]?' " Arum said.
Arum said he was amazed by the new stadium, which will initially be configured to seat around 45,000. That figure can increase, he said, if there is sufficient demand. The top ticket will be $700.
The ring will be placed at what would be the 50-yard line.
Jones said attendance at the new facility has been far better than expected, not only for football but for all events it has hosted since opening last year.
"We've underestimated the attendance for every event we've done, whether it's been soccer or whatever," Jones said. "I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that we can" draw at least 45,000.
Arum said he has a memorandum of understanding with each fighter. A Top Rank attorney is drawing up the contracts and Pacquiao and Clottey are expected to formally sign in the next few days.
Arum said the fight will be on pay-per-view, but he's not certain if it will be distributed by HBO. He said he plans to hold conversations in the next several days, but said several large media companies have reached out to him.
Still unclear is when Mayweather will fight and against whom. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who represents Mayweather, said Mayweather still plans to fight on March 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which was held for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Schaefer said he's reached out to several opponents, whom he would not identify, and said he hopes to reach a deal in the coming week. He said he also has had conversations with HBO, though he anticipates the Mayweather fight also would be on pay-per-view.
"I'm disappointed, but life goes on and the sport goes on," Schaefer said. "We've had the March 13 date for a long time. We were planning to put [Bernard] Hopkins and [Roy] Jones on that date initially, so that's been a date we've been planning as a pay-per-view date for quite a while now.
"We're having conversations with HBO and we'll have to see how it develops. But we can still make a very good event featuring Floyd Mayweather Jr. and that's what we're going to work hard to do."
The proposed Pacquiao-Mayweather bout was derailed largely by disagreements over which drug-testing program the fighters would undergo in the weeks before the fight.
- Manny Pacquiao
- Bob Arum
- Joshua Clottey
- Dallas Cowboys