Dallas stadium likely out for Pacquiao-Mayweather
AP Boxing Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Promoters of the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight abruptly canceled a trip to Dallas on Wednesday, dealing a possibly fatal blow to the chances of Jerry Jones landing the bout for Cowboys Stadium.
The trip was canceled at the last minute because Mayweather’s promoter apparently decided he didn’t want the fight at the new stadium. The move leaves the MGM Grand hotel arena in Las Vegas as the heavy favorite to host the March 13 fight.
Co-promoter Bob Arum – who got the news at his 78th birthday party Tuesday night – was upset by the trip being canceled because Jones had rearranged his schedule so he could give the promoters a tour of the $1.2 billion stadium and present a proposal to host the bout.
“I’m just embarrassed, really embarrassed,” Arum told The Associated Press. “The man (Jones) changed his whole schedule for this and you certainly want to listen to the man.”
Arum said he was blindsided by Mayweather’s promoter, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who was to join him in Dallas along with HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg. He said Schaefer called him and told him he wasn’t going to go to Dallas because he didn’t want the fight there.
“There was no point in me going then,” Arum said. “My guy can’t go into the ring and just take bows. He needs an opponent.”
Arum said Schaefer told him that he didn’t want to stage the fight in an outdoor stadium, and that there wasn’t enough time to set up the stadium for the bout.
“I told him it wasn’t an outdoor stadium, that it had a retractable roof,” Arum said. “That didn’t seem to matter.”
The abrupt cancellation was the first problem between the two promoters, who earlier had quickly come to agreement on the date of the fight and the purses for their respective fighters. Things were going so smoothly that they were looking for sites for a Jan. 6 press conference in New York City to formally announce the bout.
Schaefer could not immediately be reached for comment. He and Arum earlier agreed not to publicly speak about the negotiations until all arrangements for the fight were complete.
Arum said he planned to talk to Schaefer again Thursday and that he didn’t believe the fight was in any jeopardy. Though both fighters have reportedly agreed to terms, neither of them have signed contracts.
Jones said last week he hoped to bid for the fight for his stadium in Arlington, Texas, and representatives of the Superdome in New Orleans were also interested. The gate for the fight could be the richest ever in boxing, perhaps exceeding the $20 million mark before even starting to count pay-per-view sales.
A Staples Center official told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that the arena has made a $20 million offer to host the fight, but the offer would likely have to be higher than any MGM Grand offer because California imposes state taxes that the fighters would have to pay, and Nevada doesn’t.
The MGM Grand is also considered a favorite because that’s where both Mayweather and Pacquiao have fought their biggest fights. Mayweather lives in Las Vegas, and has always been partial to fighting in the city.