If you're any level of NFL fan at all, you know that this season has not been kind to the Dallas Cowboys. With many (foolish) pundits and fans picking the Cowboys to be the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl this year, the team has instead spiraled to a 1-7 record, exposing the fact that their "amazing talent" isn't, and never was, all that amazing. Instead of a mediocre team putting it together, they've become a mediocre team that has free-fallen to the bottom of the NFL.
The Cowboys have a bye this weekend, which is why Cowboys Stadium is open and free for the big-time prizefight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. Earlier this year, Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum teamed with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to bring boxing to the lavish and enormous venue. It was March, and Pacquiao faced Joshua Clottey in front of 55,000 fans and around 700,000 more on U.S. pay-per-view, not to mention countless viewers around the world. Months before what was to be the year "America's Team" came back into the fold as an elite franchise in the NFL, Pacquiao dominated Clottey.
That makes Pacquiao 1-0 in the stadium in 2010. The Cowboys? They're 0-4. They've fired head coach Wade Phillips, replacing him with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. If Garrett is unsuccessful in getting the most out of a frustrated team that is beaten up mentally and physically, and Pacquiao beats Antonio Margarito on Saturday, there's a really good chance that Pacquiao's two wins in the stadium will be more than the home team puts up over eight tries.
And unless you're a Cowboys fan, isn't that kind of funny?
If Pacquiao does score a sensational win over Margarito in front of a mass crowd (70,000 is a number that has been thrown around, as Margarito has far more star power than did Clottey), we could be looking at the real birth of a special relationship in boxing. Jerry Jones, no matter what faults you might think he has as the owner of a football team, is a savvy promoter. Obviously he shares the vision of Bob Arum, Todd DuBoef and the rest of Top Rank, which is getting huge event-level boxing out of the exclusive casinos in Las Vegas and back into the gigantic venues. The atmosphere is, like the audiences, bigger and more "epic." We've seen a couple of stadium shows this year. Pacquiao-Clottey was the first, and then in June, Miguel Cotto defeated Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium. Both shows had their positives and negatives. The search now for stadium boxing isn't stadiums that are willing to host, but the search for a great fight that makes tens of thousands of fans come alive. Maybe Pacquiao-Margarito is that fight. Maybe not.
Someday, if this does indeed become a standard rather than a novelty, boxing fans may look back and remember that it was Manny Pacquiao who built Cowboys Stadium. And if the Cowboys don't get better, he might be the only thing worth looking forward to in the venue.