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Tuesday, March 9, 2010


In the fertile history of iconic rich guys, Jerry Jones is the anti-Howard Hughes.

Where Hughes famously retired to the top floor of the Desert Inn for several years while buying up Strip hotel-casinos (including the D.I., so he wouldn't be kicked out), Jones is so terrifically easy to find. Especially here in Dallas. Just hang out long enough next to a floodlight and a guy holding a camera, and like a tycoon to a flame, he's bound to happen by.

Amid cameras, lights and dozens of media types in Big D to cover Saturday's Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey WBO welterweight title bout, Jones waded into Clottey's open workout today at the Gaylord Texan hotel. It was just a matter of time, then, to meet up with him, state my name and business and saying, "I'm a journalist from Las Vegas, and a lot of people where I live are really interested in you right now."

"That's good!" he said. "Welcome to Dallas. We're glad you're here."

"Not nearly as glad as I am to be here," I said, shaking the hand that does not gleam with Jones' Cowboys 1996 Super Bowl ring.

Jones asked if I'd heard any of the comments he'd recited to the TV crews.

"Yep," I said. "You want boxing in Cowboys Stadium, that's pretty clear." Jones said he wants several fights per year at the new Death Star home of his NFL team, playing into the region's high Latino/Hispanic population. "It's a disservice to boxing fans to have all the big fights in Las Vegas," he said. Top Rank chief Bob Arum said much of the same, saying that big fights should be like the Super Bowl, rotating from city to city but (we expect) not relying upon old rock bands to provide support entertainment.

This weekend's bout, of course, is but the first of Jones' forays into the fight game, and there will be more from him. We're talking again, tentatively, Wednesday at the stadium. This should be some fun, some Texas-sized fun, with a guy who knows how to have such.

More from our Gaylord Texan bureau:

• During a give-and-take following a 20-minute workout for the cameras (and notepads), Clottey offered that he studies no film of Pacquiao. "I never watch tape. I just want to be fit to fight him," said the 32-year-old resident of Accra, Ghana. When it was suggested Pacquiao's left-handedness might be something of a problem, Clottey said, "After the first round, I will know how to fight him." ... Clottey also said he has a strong chin. "All African fighters have a strong chin," he explained. He's never been knocked out. ... If he weren't a boxer, Clottey said he'd be a soccer player. "A midfielder," specifically. His favorite team is Manchester United. ... The sports bar in the Gaylord Texan is called Texan Station, not quite Texas Station, but close enough for a double-take for this Las Vegan who has spent many nights at the latter and one at the former. ... Reportedly, at least, 35,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's card. A total of 45,000 were put on sale, though the capacity can grow in pace with demand. ... Clottey, who weighs 148, offered that he has "a sharp right hand," that will give Pacquiao problems in the sense that he likely will be punched in the face by that right hand ... The host hotel charges $24 for valet, something different from how guest services work in Las Vegas. When I noted to a hotel staffer at guest registration that valet service is traditionally complimentary in Las Vegas, I was told it was because Gaylord Texan is "a resort." I then reeled off a half-dozen Vegas resorts where valet is free (absent gratuity): "Bellagio — free. Venetian — free. Aria — Free. Mandalay Bay — free. Planet Hollywood — free. Paris — Free. Caesars Palace — free." Like that. "I could go on," I said to the woman. "I'm sure you can," she said, smiling. So we're at impasse.

Author: John Katsilometes

Source: lasvegassun.com

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