The Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey March 13 fight has the golden chance of breaking the record for the biggest attendance in a covered arena in the United States as it has sold more than 20,000 tickets in just four days.
“The public response is just unbelievable,” said Top Rank Promotions spokesman Lee Samuels from Las Vegas. “We are happy to report that since ticket sales started last Saturday [January 23] more than 20,000 tickets have been snapped up by boxing fans.”
Most of the tickets already sold were the expensive ones, Samuels said—those in the $100, $200, $300 up to the most expensive $700 ringside seats.
“We still have thousands of tickets for $50 and up, which are available for families who simply want to have a night of boxing excitement and fun,” Samuels said.
He said the presence of substantial numbers of ethnic Filipinos in Dallas and nearby areas plus the huge Hispanic population who love boxing would boost interest in the fight dubbed as “The Event.”
According to veteran American boxing scribe Michael Marley, the current record is 63,315 paid attendance generated by the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks rematch at the Louisiana Superdome in 1978.
On September 10, 1993, 58,891 people paid to watch the Julio Cesar Chavez-Pernell Whitaker super fight at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Quoting Top Rank Chief Executive Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, Marley said more than 24,000 tickets have been sold by Ticketmaster since Saturday.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the new and huge football arena with retractable roof will be configured for 40,000 to 50,000 seats, but that can easily be expanded up to 90,000 seats, depending on demand.
Samuels said they were pleasantly surprised by the early ticket sales results for Pacquiao-Clottey, which he described as a competitive match-up between two of the best welterweights in the world who both come to fight.
If the media interest in the fight is any indication, Samuels said, about 1,000 media men from around the world are expected to cover the fight, the first boxing event in the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter in the world. He has speed, superb footwork and explosive power in both hands,” Samuels said. “Josh Clottey is certainly a worthy, dangerous challenger—bigger, stronger and tough—who has never been stopped.”
What makes Clottey dangerous are not only his toughness and size advantage but also his being “hungry for a world title” and the fact that he has a game plan against the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“I expect Clottey to be aggressive throughout the fight because he feels that’s his only chance against Manny,” Samuels said, adding that a big, tough and aggressive fighter like him, who has pop in his punches, could pose a real challenge for Pacquiao.
BY JUN MEDINA Special Correspondent