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Although it is still technically a two man race at this point, the clear favorite to take on Manny Pacquiao in November is now Antonio Margarito.
Essentially Cotto and Margarito are interchangeable at this point though, and Pacquiao will be expected to beat either one handily. The one remaining big question is now where the fight will take place.
As per usual offers have been flooding in to the Top Rank headquarters and as usual Pacquiao himself is game to take the fight more or less anywhere Bob Arum chooses to put it on
Abu Dhabi has apparently put forward an offer of $30 million which might include all pay per view revenues as well. If this is the case then it will probably be the largest bid on the table, but will that also make it the most attractive to Arum and co?
Being in the U.A.E there are logistical issues with hosting a fight there, which Arum has said his friends in the UFC management (who recently staged an MMA event there) have talked to him about. The time difference is also a potential issue with Abu Dhabi, being 11 and 8 hours ahead of the United States. Either the live attendance or the pay per view figures are bound to suffer depending on what time the fight is held. So although perhaps the best looking offer on paper, practically Abu Dhabi is in some ways still a challenge. Similarly a group from Qatar was also interested in the Mayweather fight, but whether they are also looking to land a fight with either Cotto or Margarito is not yet known.
That brings us to the next bidder, the Dallas Cowboys stadium, where a date in November has been reserved for Top Rank since the beginning of the year. A similarly lucrative bid will no doubt be on offer, and of course the pay per view sales would be greater given that the event would be held at a normal time.
The only thing perhaps counting against Texas though is that there are other fights Arum would like to put on there. Julio Cesar Chavez against Kelly Pavlik is one such event, and would probably do just as well as a Pacquiao fight in terms of live attendance. The Pavlik-Chavez fight is still in the negotiations phase, but is currently being pencilled in for December 4th.
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Which suggets that Pacquiao’s next fight will probably be somewhere else. Two fights so close together is the norm in Vegas, but in this respect Dallas in uncharted territory. The novelty of having a big boxing event might have worn thin so soon after the Pacquiao roadshow leaves town, and the last thing Arum would want is to take attention away from one of his rising stars.
The remaining choices are either Mexico or Las Vegas, one of which is currently not an option for Margarito. Whether he regains his license to fight in the United States between now and November or not, Arum can’t book him for Vegas hoping things will turn out the way he wants them to.
Mexico has the benefits of a normal pay per view time as well as a good attendance because of Margarito wherever they stage the fight. A group from Monterey has already put in an offer, and is apparently willing to build an arena if they land the fight.
For the time being a combination of Abu Dhabi and Margarito is looking the most likely, but obviously this is far from set in stone and what Pacquiao and Arum really want isn’t completely clear.
Eddie Vickers, Pittsburgh: “Margo will sell more than Cotto would now, but I don’t think it will do much more than a million. The outcome is a foregone conclusion and it doesn’t mean anything”
Tony Smithers, Philly: “The fight will definitely be in the US, the live gates and pay per views will be lower anywhere else”
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