GRAPEVINE – Soon after word trickled down to South Florida earlier this year that Jerry Joneswould be getting into the boxing business with a Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight at Cowboys Stadium, an old business associate was cackling on a phone call to Valley Ranch.
"You do know the fighter I was talking to you about was Manny Pacquiao," Bill Parcells told Jones. In a matter of seconds, both men were laughing.
Neither Jones nor Parcells remembers exactly what year the former Cowboys coach presented the Cowboys owner with an opportunity to invest in the future of Pacquiao. But it was in the summer. Just before training camp. In all likelihood, it was 2004, just as the Filipino fighter's career was preparing to skyrocket.
It seems Parcells knew a guy from back in New Jersey who had a contract with Pacquiao. Parcells, a boxing fan since childhood, and Murad Muhammad, a promoter from Newark, had been introduced by a mutual friend.
"He was a trainer and a tailor, and we both bought our clothes from him," Parcells recalled Tuesday afternoon.
Muhammad asked Parcells for an introduction to Jones. Muhammad was looking for a little cash to help promote Pacquiao's career.
Parcells thought Pacquiao was worth the investment. And so he called Jones to set up a meeting.
"We sat in Jerry's office and talked about how good Oscar De La Hoya was doing and how Manny could follow in his footsteps," Parcells said. "I said, 'Jerry this guy is a good young fighter. He's worth a shot. ' "
But Jones wouldn't bite. He reasoned that if Pacquiao was a good as Parcells advertised, someone who knew more about the subject than an Arkansas oil man who hit the jackpot with the Cowboys would be willing to make an investment.
"I once had a very attractive proposition to get into NASCAR," Jones recalled. "Then I looked around the people sitting at my table, and I saw that nobody had grease under their fingernails. I knew immediately that if we went into racing, we'd get our butts beat.
"Same with boxing."
And so Jones passed on Pacquiao, who has grown into one of the hottest commodities in boxing and may be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
With Pacquiao and Clottey training for Saturday's welterweight title fight at Cowboys Stadium, where a crowd of 40,000 is expected, Jones held court Monday and Tuesday at their training sessions inside the Gaylord Texan. He posed for as many photos and signed more autographs than both fighters combined.
Asked if he regretted not getting into boxing with Pacquiao as part of his team rather than simply supplying the site, Jones said he was sorry he hadn't been more daring.
"I regret it because of the significance of Pacquiao," Jones said. "Boxing has a great synergy with football, but I don't think I could have done it right."
"Maybe it would have worked with Jerry, maybe it wouldn't have," Parcells said. "Nobody knows. But Jerry and boxing has to be a great match."