50,994. That was the official attendance inside the monolith that is the $1.2 billion dollar Cowboys Stadium for this past Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey title fight. While boxing promotions such as this typically push the fighters themselves, this promotion had the unique storyline of the venue in which the fight would be taking place in as the unabashed star in this production. Pacquiao-Clottey by most accounts when compared to the blinding glow of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones crown jewel. But while the stadium may have stolen the show, let us not discount the importance of Manny Pacquiao’s immense global popularity. Arguably, no other fighter in modern history, save for maybe a prime Mike Tyson or Oscar De La Hoya, could have sold, or carried such a grand promotion. Top Rank may have come up with the idea to label this promotion “The Event”, but without the influence of Jerry Jones, this promotion would have been another case of boxing hyperbole.
If you were fortunate enough to be in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex this past week, then you would be hard-pressed not to concede that “The Event” was a more than suitable moniker for a fight of this proportion. The week leading up to Saturday’s fight was filled with press conferences, public workouts, and every other promotional trick in the book. This was a fight sold to the public on the idea of privilege, and not on the idea of witnessing two warriors battle. By marketing this fight as the place to be, a refuge for only the coolest, hippest of people, Top Rank and Jones created a demand that paid off in spades as witnessed by the gate receipts and the unprecedented media coverage. While Pacquiao clearly did his part in bringing a throng of curious onlookers, this promotion will not go down in the annuals on history for its beautiful savagery, but more for the spectacle of the event. Which is a shame, as boxing, now more than ever, could have benefited greatly if both the fights, and the actual event, enjoyed the same level of success.
With an event of this magnitude, there are bound to be parties who came out winners, and parties that came up short. Today, we will tackle the winners of “The Event”, with the losers getting their shine tomorrow.
Bob Arum and Jerry Jones – At the post-fight press conference, Top Rank president Bob Arum, and Jerry Jones were visibly giddy at the staggering success of “The Event”. Any time you have two masters of the art of self-promotion and hyperbole working tougher, than you just know that you are in for an over-the-top event. This promotion was labeled “The Event” and in all aspects, it more than lived up to that billing.
Boxing in North Texas – I have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex for over eight years, and I have covered the boxing scene here for a little over three years,. In that time, never, I repeat, never has the sport of boxing received such a staggering amount of attention and buzz from the local media and fans alike as this promotion enjoyed. As Jerry Jones mentioned in the post-fight presser, a rising tide lifts all boats, and in talking with a number of local promoters this past week, that is exactly what they are hoping for.
Manny Pacquiao – Going into Saturday night, Filipino demigod Manny Pacquiao was already considered the best fighter on the planet. While there was an enormous letdown when it became clear that the Pacman would not be fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a the biggest fight that could be made in the sport today, true boxing heads easily accepted the consolation prize of a Pacquiao-Clottey fight. After all, true heads know that Clottey is no throw-away welterweight. Far from it, in fact Clottey was wildly considered one of the toughest challenges any fighter could face at 147 pounds. Clottey’s
Robert Marroquin – As soon as it was announced that the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight would take place at Cowboys Stadium here in the DFW, Bob Arum immediately expressed his desire to feature Robert Marroquin on the card. Marroquin, who is a proud Oak Cliff, Dallas, native and resident, is one of Top Rank’s brightest young prospects. Saturday night, Marroquin’s stock exploded through the roof with his two round dismantling of the talented Sammy Sanchez. In fact, you could argue that this entire week may have marked the maturation of Marroquin from talented local prospect to a legitimate rising star in the sport. Marroquin not only impressed fans Saturday night, but he impressed the gigantic throng of international media types at this past Thursday afternoon undercard press conference. Of all the fighters who participated in the aforementioned presser, Marroquin seemed the most poised, and came off as potential media darling, exhibiting the intriguing combination of genuine humility and undeniable swagger. Big things are definitely in the immediate future for Marroquin.
The Fans – It was called the event, and as I mentioned before this label certainly rung true throughout the promotion. Fans are the lifeblood of the sport, and boxing fans lucky enough to be in North Texas for this promotion were treated to not only a fight of Las Vegas proportions, but to a number of activities designed to make for a unique experience. Leading up to the fight, there were a number of activities available to the public including open workouts, press conferences, and even an autograph session which featured Antonio Margarito (who was booed, then cheered in true Dallas fashion) , and Jorge Arce.
(Photo by Edward Garza)