PACMAN & CLOTTEY IN TEXAS:  GLITZY  RITES  KICK  OFF  FIGHT
 
[PHOTO AT LEFT - PACQUIAO & CLOTTEY at  ARLINGTON, Texas]

MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2010 (STAR) Standing under the world’s largest high-definition television and surrounded by Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey were all smiles for the announcement of their welterweight fight on Tuesday.

The March 13 bout will be the first boxing match at the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium.

“This is going to be the Super Bowl of boxing,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer.

Not really. That would’ve been the hoped-for matchup between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., which was scuttled after Mayweather outlined a drug testing plan Pacquiao wouldn’t accept.

Had that fight come together, it would have been in Las Vegas. So as far as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was concerned, things worked out just fine.

“It did,” Jones said, smiling. “This gave us an opening. We were very aggressive. We were pretty quick to make a deal.”

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum was smitten by the stadium during negotiations for a possible Pacquaio-Mayweather fight. Arum returned for a Cowboys playoff game, sitting near former President George W. Bush in Jones’ box.

Arum has promoted fights at the Astrodome and at Yankee Stadium. He predicts Cowboys Stadium “will have a big role in boxing for years to come.”

“I have never, ever seen anything like it,” Arum said. “There is nothing in the world like this place. It just blows you away.”

The stadium is hosting the NBA All-Star Game next month and will host the Super Bowl next year. It’s also in the running as a World Cup site, should football’s showcase come to the United States.

Money talks and Jones believes he can make it financially worthwhile for fighters. His goal is to host up to four or five fights a year, “once we establish that we are the place to fight and have the kind of stature that we want to have.” He used Madison Square Garden as a comparison.

For this fight, the Cowboys are planning to sell around 40,000 seats, offering tickets on all but the highest decks.

Jones vowed that fight night will be even splashier than the news conference, where sparklers fired from the tips of the flagpoles, and Michael Buffer gave his signature introduction.

The boxers praised each other on Tuesday, and also were gushing over the facility and the glitzy news conference. (AP)


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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