Monday, November 30, 2009

Matt Aguilar: Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. superfight belongs in Cowboys Stadium

With a pair of pay-per-view fights drawing more than a million buys in 2009, boxing is enjoying a spike in popularity that it hasn't seen since Mike Tyson ruled the heavyweight division 20 years ago.

The sport's resurgence can be traced directly to the star attractions of those two successful PPV events -- Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. And it won't be long now before "Pac-Man" and "Money" square off in a proposed May 1, 2010, showdown that is all but guaranteed to smash previous PPV records and perhaps usher in a new era in boxing.

This is an unprecedented time in boxing. It is on the precipice of becoming important again. And the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will dictate whether it gets there.

So why not make it as big as it can be?

A statement

While Las Vegas will always be boxing's capital, Pacquiao-Mayweather requires a



grand stage if it hopes to catapult the sweet science back into the mainstream. And the new billion-dollar Dallas Cowboys Stadium is that grand stage.
Cowboys Stadium reportedly is a candidate to host Pacquiao-Mayweather, along with a proposed temporary 30,000 seat stadium on the Vegas Strip, the new Yankee Stadium, CitiField -- the new New York Mets stadium -- and the Superdome in New Orleans.

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank already has said that Yankee Stadium and Mets Stadium are out for tax reasons. The Superdome is dated. And the temporary stadium proposal in Vegas fails to accommodate one major, undeniable possibility: rain.

The venue that makes the most sense is Cowboys Stadium.

It seats more than 100,000. It has the largest big-screen television on earth, making every seat in the house a good one. It has a retractable roof -- making the weather a non-factor. And it sits in Texas -- a state that is wildly passionate about its boxing.

Whether it's Oscar De La Hoya drawing 47,000 people to the Sun Bowl in El Paso or Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker drawing 65,000 to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas supports major boxing events.

Arum is well aware of the Lone Star State's passionate, knowledgeable, predominantly Hispanic boxing fans. He saw it first hand with De La Hoya's appearance in the Sun Bowl. And with the Texas pay-per-view receipts that he counts.

Imagine the state's support of a monster event like Pacquiao-Mayweather.

If the point is to make this showdown the pugilistic equivalent of the World Series, NBA Finals and Super Bowl -- then it needs to be in Cowboys Stadium.

Only option

With the help of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the money making potential and hype for this fight would be unprecedented. The entities that have ignored boxing for years -- the television networks, the national magazines and newspapers, the corporate sponsors -- would be forced to pay attention and recognize boxing as a renewed force.

And while Pacquiao-Mayweather always could end up at the MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay, it simply would be another big fight weekend in Vegas. In Dallas, it would be something never before seen.

Now that's making a statement.

Meanwhile, Vegas wouldn't be threatened. It will always be "Fight Town." It even would benefit if Pacquiao-Mayweather achieved the expected success in Cowboys Stadium, as it would energize the entire sport.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. Wouldn't it make sense, then, to put perhaps the biggest, richest fight of all time in Texas?

If the sport really wanted to capitalize on the momentum, and re-establish itself as a force, this is its chance. If it really wanted to make a statement, then Cowboys Stadium is the only option.

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