Pacquiao key to bringing back old glory of boxing in US

DALLAS Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas ( MindaNews/DateLine Philippines)–The World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight title fight between reigning champion Manny Pacquiao and challenger Joshua Clottey may have not generated as much anticipation and excitement compared to the failed Pacquiao-Mayweather match, but the impact of successfully staging “The Event” is surely to be felt by millions of boxing fans, especially in the US for many, many years to come.

Saturday’s fight here at the $1.2 billion stadium may yet be able to set the stage for the final comeback of the boxing sport’s old glory where thousands of fans are able to see their favorite fighters in the flesh, not just on television.

At the core of this historic revival is the Filipino, Manny Pacquiao, who eked a nondescript kargador (dock worker) life in General Santos City in the Philippines but rose to become the world’s pound-for-pound king, reigning as the top boxer in seven weight divisions.

True, Bob Arum is somewhat consumed by the vision for years, and may have found a decisive partner in Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys stadium. “We made the deal in 30 minutes,” Arum told MindaNews.

He courted the Yankees stadium for three decades for another boxing fight, similar to what he had staged in 1976 for the Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton Heavyweight title bout.

At least he managed to have a preliminary agreement for the club’s new stadium featuring the defense of WBA junior middleweight Yuri Foreman’s title against former welterweight champion Miguel Cotto on June 5.

But there has to be a magnet that would bring in the fans in droves to the stadium, and Manny Pacquiao is the only man who might possibly provide that.

Jones believes all the ingredients are already in place. He reconfigured the stadium for a 45,000 seating. He made sure the tickets are fairly affordable.

Online ticket seller StubHub reports some 2,000 tickets are still available for $45. The high end is now $4,250 for a suite and $2,730 for regular seats at Ringside 6. Cowboys officials say about 45,000 tickets are already sold out.

Gauging from ticket sales reports, Jones was able to cash in on the support of the large Hispanic following of the Pacman in Texas, not to mention the growing Filipino population of the lone star state.

Arum admitted to MindaNews  that Pacquiao initially was apprehensive about fighting at the Cowboys stadium. But when he visited the place, and the grandiose promotional plan of the event, Pacquiao just got “blown away, and went ballistic.”

Pacquiao agreed that lending his name and stature for the staging of his fight with Clottey at the Cowboys stadium will be good for boxing both as a sport and as an industry.

As Jones earlier explained, getting Pacquiao to agree seals the deal for the biggest effort to bring back the old glory days of boxing in the U.S.

Arum believes a full house stadium on fight night and a Pacquiao victory will finally free the US boxing from the clutches of Las Vegas which has steadily driven the sport away from the ordinary American fans.  Merpu Roa/MindaNews

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