Antonio Margarito to be Licensed for Manny Pacquiao Fight in Dallas
Michael Koncz, the adviser to seven-division titlist and WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champ Manny Pacquiao confirmed that Pacquiao will return to the Cowboys' Stadium to pursue his record eighth crown in as many different weight classes in a Nov. 13 junior middleweight (154 pounds) bout opposite ex-champ Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC belt.
"Dallas is the final venue," said Koncz, "and we're very pleased about that."
FanHouse has learned that Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs), who still is not licensed to fight in the U.S., has been assured that he will be licensed in Texas.
"A deal has been made, it's going to go to Dallas," said the source, "and [Margarito] has been assured a license in Dallas."
The Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire originally reported the site location, citing a source close to the site negotiations for Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones.
Assuming all goes as planned, ESPN.com's Dan Rafael cited a "good source" in reporting that an Aug. 31 press conference is planned for Dallas, with subsequent stops in New York and Los Angeles.
Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum told FanHouse that a five-hour meeting in Arlington, Tex., with Jones on Aug. 11 went well, but would not comment on whether he would indeed return to Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.Cowboys' Stadium is the site of the March 13 WBO title defense made by Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) against Joshua Clottey by unanimous, 12-round decision that drew more than 51,000 fans to the stadium.
Arum had told FanHouse a few days earlier on Aug. 9, however, that he was "very optimistic" about cutting a deal with Jones to host Pacquiao-Margarito, adding, "Jerry Jones, I consider to be a friend," and, "I think that we're going to make a deal."
"We believe that we can sell out the whole venue with Antonio Margarito and set a new record," said Koncz. "Last time, we set a new record over there with 51,000 as a live gate, and I think that this time, we'll surpass the number of about 70,000."
When Pacquiao fought Clottey, Margarito, of Tijuana, Mexico, was in attendance and was routinely shadowed by large groups of supporters whose attention rivaled that paid to the popular Pacquiao.
"Jerry Jones knows that north Texas has a huge Hispanic population, and, particularly, a large Mexican American population. So Margarito will be a tremendous draw, and, as you know, Pacquiao was already a tremendous draw," said Arum on Aug. 11. "So if the fight happens in [Cowboys Stadium], the attendance will exceed the previous fight with Joshua Clottey, who really had no following in north Texas."
Koncz had been in Abu Dhabi throughout most of the previous week in an attempt to work out what Koncz called a "multi-million dollar deal" for the United Arab Emirates to host Pacquiao-Margarito.
But Arum told FanHouse that the Abu Dhabi deal "is not going to happen." Arum and Koncz had given the country an initial deadline of July 28 within which to work out a deal, but Arum said "they kept saying they need more time, and now it's too late."
"The fight is ending up in Dallas and we're very happy about that because Abu Dhabi was our first choice. Our meetings went very well over there," said Koncz. "I think that for the future, we'll do something in Abu Dhabi. But there were time restraints on Abu Dhabi and we weren't able to put it together in the end for this time."
Margarito's license was revoked by the California State Athletic Commission following an illegal hand-wrapping scandal in January 2009. Margarito is coming off of May's 10-round, unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia in a junior middleweight clash that was fought in Mexico, which licensed him for the bout.
Margarito, whose suspension officially ended on Feb. 11, unsuccessfully applied for a license in Nevada, whose state athletic commission ruled that he must re-apply in California and have his case re-tried there before attempting to fight in Las Vegas.
Margarito has appealed to have his license re-instated by the CSAC, and will have his case heard on Aug. 18. Arum has said, all along, that he does not believe that Margarito will have a problem obtaining a license in Texas.
Recent developments have promoter Don King pursuing Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) with the goal of matching him against Pacquiao possibly in the spring. Arum has twice failed to bring Mayweather-Pacquiao to fruition over negotiations with Mayweather's present handlers, Golden Boy Promotions, and adviser Al Haymon.
But Arum said that he and King would be able to work out a deal quickly, but not until the spring, and, perhaps in May.