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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

As venue for Pacquiao-Clottey fight, Cowboys Stadium is a knockout

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By BARRY HORN / The Dallas Morning News

ARLINGTON – The circus came to town Tuesday, and promoter Bob Arum instantly proclaimed it the greatest opening day in boxing history. Never before has an introductory news conference been held in a $1.15 billion venue with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders standing guard as the fighters took center stage.

"I've never seen anything quite like this," proclaimed Arum as he lovingly took in the sights and sounds of the event held to introduce Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey, who will return to Cowboys Stadium for their welterweight world championship fight March 13. "This had panache."

Across the field, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whom Arum expects to help promote the fight like no other partner he has had, was saying he envisions as many as "four or five significant fights a year" in the new home of the Cowboys.

"Las Vegas has its aura, and we can do things here to capture our own aura," Jones said.

Pacquiao-Clottey is a good start. It's not a mega-fight like Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather would have been. Rather it's a strong welterweight pairing between Pacquiao, the WBO's 147-pound champion who has held titles in seven weight classes and is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and Clottey, who is ranked the as the No. 1 challenger by the WBA and No. 4 by the WBA.

For the fight, Cowboys Stadium will be configured much like it was for last month's Texas-North Carolina college basketball game. The ring will be built at midfield, with Arum and Jones hoping to fill 40,000 seats.

"It was always in our mind that right here on the star we would put the ring," said Jones, who later said the earliest renderings of the stadium included a configuration for boxing.

Clottey thankful for chance: Pacquiao, 31, is 50-3-2. He is an icon back home in The Philippines. He has won 11 fights since losing a super featherweight fight to Erik Morales in March of 2005. Clottey, 32, a native of Ghana who lives in New York, is 35-3. His lost his last fight by split decision to Miguel Angel Cotto in June. Five months later, Pacquiao beat Cotto in a 12th-round technical knockout. Clottey sounded star-struck when talking about Pacquiao. "He is the best guy, and I want to thank him for giving me this opportunity."

Briefly: Among those introduced to the crowd by ring announcer Michael Buffer were three local former world champions: junior welterweight Gene Hatcher, featherweight Troy Dorsey and bantamweight Paulie Ayala. ... Tickets for the fight dubbed simply "The Event" will range from $700 at ringside down to $50. When the undercard is announced in the next several days, expect it to be filled with lots of Hispanic fighters. ... The fight will be televised on pay-per-view by HBO. Pacquiao's last three pay-per-view bouts averaged one million buys. The suggested retail price for this one is $49.95.


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