Arum aims for fight at Cowboys Stadium
Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik's return to the ring could come against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event of a pay-per-view card, and if Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has his way, it will take place at Cowboys Stadium, he told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
"That's the fight we are looking to do," Arum said.
Arum hoped to make a deal with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for the fight to take place on Dec. 4. However, the stadium is scheduled to host the Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship football game that day, meaning the bout would have happen on another date, possibly early next year. Arum did not realize until later Tuesday that the game conflicted with the date he had in mind for the fight.
"Jerry is dying to do it but I got a little conflict. December 4th is the Big 12 championship game, so we're looking another date and so forth," Arum said. "So maybe we have to go into next year. December is just a month on the calendar. We'll find a date. But that fight is the goal and the goal is to do it at Cowboys Stadium. When I found out the football game was December 4th, I joked with [Cowboys executive] Chad Estis that we'd do the fight at halftime."
Arum and Jones became fast friends when they teamed to open Cowboys Stadium to boxing on March 13, when Manny Pacquiao defended his welterweight title in front of more than 50,000 in a fight that generated 700,000 pay-per-view buys. They vowed to bring more fights to the stadium in the future. Jones was particularly interested in appealing to the region's large Hispanic population, and Chavez is one of the most popular active Mexican fighters.
The Cowboys are interested in hosting the fight.
"Our experience with Bob and the Pacquiao fight was outstanding and we loved every minute of it," Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said. "The energy it brought to our stadium and to the boxing world is something we want to see again. We want the opportunity to do something else like that and [Pavlik-Chavez] is the type of matchup that would be worth talking to Bob about.
"I think Chavez and Pavlik are the type of fighters and fight you'd want to bring to this region. They're big names and Chavez appeals to the Hispanic fan base here, which I don't think can be discounted at all."
Said Arum, "This is the kind of fight that is right up their alley -- a white guy from the Midwest fighting the son of the Mexican legend in Cowboys Stadium with reasonable ticket prices. I think we can do 40,000 or 50,000 people."
Chavez (41-0-1, 30 KOs), the son of all-time great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., is coming off the most notable victory of his career, a strong performance in a 12-round unanimous decision against John Duddy on June 26 in San Antonio. Arum said his plan is to bring Chavez back Sept. 11 against an opponent to be determined and then to match him with Pavlik.
Arum said the idea for the fight came up late last week when he was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, promoting the Juan Manuel Lopez-Bernabe Concepcion featherweight title bout that took place on Saturday.
Arum said he was at the hotel bar with Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik's co-manager, who had Nonito Donaire on the San Juan undercard, and Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran, Arum's partner on Chavez, who had Hernan Marquez facing Donaire.
"We were sitting around having drinks and we came up with it," Arum said. "We checked with [Chavez trainer] Freddie Roach and he loves the fight. Cameron checked with the Pavliks and they love the fight, so let's get it on."
It would be Pavlik's first fight since Sergio Martinez severely cut him and outpointed him to win the middleweight championship on April 17 in Atlantic City, N.J. After the fight, Pavlik and his team said he would move up in weight, either to the 168-pound super middleweight or 175-pound light heavyweight division because he had struggled so severely to make 160 pounds in recent fights.
However, when Dunkin mentioned to Arum in San Juan that Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) did not really want to move up and he thought he could still make 160 pounds by working with a nutritionist, the idea for the fight with Chavez was hatched.
"When I got back [to Las Vegas] from San Juan, I checked with both sides again and everybody was on board," Arum said. "We're going to move ahead in the next couple of weeks and get the deal done. I think we can do a lot of business with that fight."
Dunkin said the key would be Pavlik working with a nutritionist in order to safely make the weight. He said despite Pavlik's weight struggles he has never worked with one.
"The fight will be at 160 and he'll get a nutritionist, a dietitian, whatever he has to do," Dunkin said. "He's fired up about this fight. He is fully committed to the fight. He's even willing to leave [his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio] to train.
"We want the fight, we absolutely want the fight. We were told by Bob that it was going to happen."
Dunkin said Pavlik, Mike Pavlik, the fighter's father and co-manager, and trainer Jack Loew were interested in getting the deal done.
"After we got back from Puerto Rico, Bob called me again to talk about the fight and I told him everybody was on board so let's make the fight happen," Dunkin said.
There was a caveat, however.
"I still need to know the money," Dunkin said. "Bob said he'd give us a guarantee and a really good upside and everyone will make a lot of money. He said, 'I can't promise you a lot of guaranteed money, but if the fight does well everybody will make money.' We're fine with that. We're willing to earn our way. I think it's a very sellable fight. I think people would like to see it. I'll you one thing -- it's a fun fight and it will be an action fight. Both of these guys can hit and both of them get hit.
"We're ready to go. We're just waiting for Bob to let us know what exactly what he's talking about financially. Other than that my guy is itching to go. When he heard it might be at Cowboys Stadium, he got really excited. He said that would be a lot of fun."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.