Wednesday, February 3, 2010
FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH MAY HAND PACQUIAO 'FIGHTER OF THE DECADE' AWARD
Elation written all over his face Bob Arum, by far the pre-eminent boxing promoter in the world jetted to Mexico City with the owner of the Dallas Cowboys $1.2 billion state-of-the-art stadium Jerry Jones and created further excitement about ‘The Event” on March 13 which pits pound-for-pound icon Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines against Ghana’s tough former champion Joshua Clottey for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title.
The affair was given added prestige with the presence of WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman and his son and WBC secretary general Mauricio Sulaiman as well as well-known Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran and the added glamor of the gorgeous Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.
Arum was obviously elated over his prized possession Pacquiao not just being voted as the “Fighter of the Decade” by the prestigious Bowing Writers Association of America but that he whipped his closest rival Floyd Mayweather Jr by a bigger margin than 2-to-1.
BWAA president Jack Hirsh told us earlier that he was looking at an international figure to present the award to Pacquiao and www.insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports learned that Arum was keen on having former US President George Bush who is apparently a huge Pacquiao fan do the honors.
Reflecting on Pacquiao’s achievements, Boxing Writers Association of America president Jack Hirsch put it best when he said “If there was any doubt that Manny Pacquiao is the biggest star of his sport, it was put to rest by members of the Boxing Writers Association of America. By an overwhelming margin, Pacquiao took home not only the BWAA's newly named "Sugar Ray Robinson Fighter of the Year" award, but went one better by also winning "Fighter of the Decade" honors. For Pacquiao, it was his third BWAA "Fighter of the Year" award, tying him with Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield for the most in the history of the organization.”
According to Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, the Filipino boxing hero was his usual humble self thanking the boxing writers for the honor bestowed on him which he dedicated to his country and people who have supported him all these years, and promising always to uphold the integrity of the sport and serve as an example to the youth.
Koncz said “everything is going perfectly. Manny did seven rounds of sparring and looked like he never left off from the (Miguel) Cotto fight. He stayed in physical condition by playing a lot of basketball in the Philippines and that helped.”
Respected boxing writer and television reporter James Blears of boxingscene.com reported out of Mexico that Jerry Jones revealed he wants to be right up there in the fray of competition for the chance to hold the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr, should the difficult negotiations ultimately prove fruitful after he finishes with the March 13 sporting extravaganza..
Blears quoted the Dallas Cowboys owner who said “I want to earn that, and want to earn that with boxing and with the fans of boxing. I appreciate what Las Vegas has meant to boxing, and it’s been special. But fights of this stature can be shown when you have four or five times the amount of people and you can get the atmosphere too.”
Jones pointed out that the NFL “as great a game as it is on television, and it was built for television, would be nothing if it didn’t have the pageantry and crowds of the stadium. The crowds and the fan experience that comes your way through television are important to enjoy that game. You and I want to know they’re playing before thousands and thousands of people. Boxing can have that and we can have that at the cowboys stadium!”
Jones explained his pride and love for sports and spoke of his determination to put on the best show with Pacquiao and Clottey and indicated he was determined to make it a resounding success.:
Explaining the about the unsurpassed financial commitment in building the new stadium, Blears quoted Jones as saying “The bottom line- I emptied my bucket to build that stadium. Before they play, I tell the team, empty your bucket today. We have emptied our bucket to have Manny Pacquiao be the first fight in that stadium. We will do everything we can."
“We will take that huge screen that makes him seventy two feet tall, and we’ll hang it thirty feet above their heads. And when they’re in there competing and fighting, every fan in the stadium, will feel as if they’re in there with them!”
The astute Arum, banking on the support of Mexican fans who themselves have embraced Pacquiao despite the fact that he has demolished every Mexican legend, added up an exciting undercard which features Irish hope John Duddy and Salvador Sanchez - the nephew of the late, great world champion who died in a tragic car crash and a enthralling encounter between WBC Welterweight Intercontinental champion Alfonso Gomez and ring legend Jose Luis Castillo who battled Mayweather in two exciting bouts and served as one of Pacquiao’s sparring partners as he prepared for the Cotto fight last November.