Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says that if he and DiBella Entertainment do stage a rematch between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already expressed interest in staging the fight at his enormous Cowboys Stadium next year.
Martinez defeated Chavez Jr last night via decision, surviving a dramatic 12th round where he was knocked down, sending the sold-out crowd of 19,186 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas into a frenzy.
Cowboys Stadium has played host to two boxing cards since opening. In March 2010, Manny Pacquiao defeated Joshua Clottey in the main event, and in November 2010, Pacquiao demolished Antonio Margarito. In both cases, the attendance was a bit of a letdown, and fell short of public talk from the organizers.
Pacquiao vs Clottey drew 36,371 paid (41,843 total, and a bogus 50,994 announced) for a gate of $6,359,985. Pacquiao vs Margarito drew 30,437 paid (40,154 total), a major disappointment given that it was expected that the Mexican Margarito fighting in Texas would mean a better crowd than Ghana's Clottey drew, but the novelty of a boxing show at Cowboys Stadium didn't seem to stick, and the fight brought in a gate of $5,404,760.
These are not numbers to sneeze at, to be certain, but in the case of Pacquiao, they just don't make dollars or sense. Take Pacquiao's June 9 fight this year with Timothy Bradley, considered a pretty poor gate showing for Manny in Las Vegas. That fight sold 13,229 tickets for a total gate of $8.9 million.
Last night's Chavez Jr vs Martinez show was said to be somewhere around a $3 million gate, with far more economic ticket prices than you see for a Pacquiao show.
So would Sergio-Julio II be a good fight in Arlington? You could charge fairly low ticket prices for non-premium seats, and while Arum's stated belief that they could get 100,000 fans in the building is probably at least double even the high-end reality, if the fight was promoted properly, and the buzz is there coming out of this fight among the casual fans -- particularly the Chavez Jr fans, who need to believe their man was mere seconds away from the knockout so much that they'll buy the fight again, either with a ticket or on PPV -- then the fight could be a seller at the stadium.
Of course, there are a few things to consider:
- Martinez is reportedly facing knee surgery, or at least it's a serious possibility;
Look, let's not beat around the bush here: The Texas commission is not known for fair play or adherence to rules. In Texas, it's not actually required that one take a drug test, which many feel has favored Chavez Jr, particularly in February of this year when he fought Marco Antonio Rubio and there was a big stink about it after the fight.
Frankly speaking, Texas officials are also not held in the highest regard. From referee Laurence Cole (son of commission head Dick Cole) to judge Gale Van Hoy, Texas boxing officials have been fairly infamous over recent years.
The fight would have the cloud of perceived favoritism toward Chavez Jr hanging over it, and that's just a fact. Whether it's fair or not isn't even the question. Skeptics will go into the fight fearing the absolute worst.
The sad part of that is, it's not like Jerry Jones is trying to bring some shameful mess into his house. He wants a big fight there, and I think he sees this as that type of fight that he wants to have. Part of me would be psyched to see Sergio-Julio II in a venue like Cowboys Stadium. It would say a lot about where boxing is, if that could be done without involving Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather in 2013.
But I can't help but personally fear the commission and its history too much to really want it. If this rematch is going to happen -- and I'm not saying it should, but it might be Sergio's biggest money opportunity, and as he turns 38 in February, he's going to want only big fights -- then I'd rather it just be in Las Vegas again. The judges and referee Tony Weeks all did a great job last night.
Do you want to see a rematch right now? Or would you rather see Martinez try to move back down to 154 pounds, where possible money fights with Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, and even Floyd Mayweather may be available? Keep in mind that Team Martinez have said many times they've got no interest in moving up to face Andre Ward, and that money is a major factor. Your choice is not really Martinez vs Golovkin or Geale -- that's just not going to happen, because Sergio's had a taste of the big time now, and usually those guys don't want to start taking short money again.