You know just how big the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight is when just the discussion of where the March 13 super fight will take place generates daily headlines.
Las Vegas, Dallas, New Orleans and Los Angeles are all places that are interested in the fight. Promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy also received inquiries from places such as Atlanta, Miami and such non-starters as the Congo and Dubai.
I've always believed the fight would wind up in Las Vegas, although it would be fun to go with some place like Dallas, where the stadium with a retractable roof could seat 100,000 people. But the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, from what I understand, has exerted big-time pressure to have the fight there. The MGM, perhaps the best place on Earth to see a fight, has always been the leader in the sweepstakes for obvious reasons. It's hosted numerous Pacquiao and Mayweather fights and supports Top Rank and Golden Boy fights regularly, even some that don't bring big crowds. The MGM hosts lesser fights knowing it also will get the big ones. Golden Boy, in particular, is very tight with the MGM, particularly executive Richard Sturm, who plays a key role in keeping boxing a major aspect of the casino's entertainment offerings. The only problem is that Pacquiao-Mayweather is so big, the arena, which holds maybe 18,000 max, just isn't big enough.
Los Angeles, despite a supposed $20 million offer from AEG, which owns the Staples Center and a minority stake in Golden Boy, seems unlikely because of the state income taxes that will be assessed to each fighter. Besides, Pacquiao says he doesn't want to fight there.
Dallas is interesting, given the serious interest from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in bringing the fight to his stadium. I think that would be cool, not to mention I could make a pilgrimage to nearby Southfork Ranch, home of my all-time favorite TV show, Dallas.
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer inexplicably dissed Jones by canceling a planned trip there on Wednesday with Top Rank's Bob Arum and HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg to tour the facility and meet with Jones. Even if Schaefer was under orders from Mayweather and manager Al Haymon not to do the fight anywhere other than Las Vegas, Schaefer was wrong to cancel the trip. What harm could have come from it? You at least listen to what Jones has to say.
Schaefer bailing so angered Arum that he threw up his hands, pulled himself out of the talks to finalize the fight (which will get done despite the bumpy road) and turned over the Top Rank end of talks to company president (and stepson) Todd duBoef. He is trying to clean up the mess and do his impersonation of Winston Wolfe -- the legendary Harvey Keitel character from "Pulp Fiction" who could fix any problem.
Now that Schaefer and duBoef are working together, I'm told Dallas is back in the mix. Unless some other place pops up, this is a two-town race: Vegas or Dallas, neither of which levy state income taxes.
We should know in a few days. And just think -- all this craziness is just about where the fight will be. Imagine how much fun it's going to be when the fight is signed, sealed and delivered.
• I tuned into HBO's "Joe Buck Live" on Tuesday night to see Mayweather's appearance. What a complete waste of time. Only Buck could make Mayweather boring in an interview. I have also watched a previous episode of the show, and it's just awful. It's a train wreck. It's the "KO Nation" of talk shows.
• If Kelly Pavlik beats Miguel Espino next week, I still want to see Pavlik against Paul Williams before I see a Williams rematch with Sergio Martinez.
• Now that heavyweight Cristobal Arreola has bounced back from his loss to Vitali Klitschko by stopping game Brian Minto in four exciting rounds, I want to see Arreola against David Tua. Somebody please make this happen.
• Say what you want about promoterLou DiBella, but I have deep respect for him. He's a man of conviction. He left a lot of money on the table by severing ties with Jermain Taylor because he believes the diminished Taylor, who has been severely knocked out in three of his last five fights, should drop out of the Super Six and retire. DiBella won't stand by and be a part of something he believes is wrong. Before Taylor fights Andre Ward in April, likely in Oakland, in the next round of Showtime's tournament, I encourage the California commission to demand to see Taylor's medical records and test results from when he was hospitalized in Germany following the crushing knockout he suffered against Arthur Abraham on Oct. 17.
• I have decided to get disgraced judges Gale Van Hoy, Alan Davis, Benoit Roussel and Pierre Benoist eyeglasses as gifts for this holiday season. On second thought, what they all really deserve for their horrific scorecards in recent fights is a giant lump of coal. If you're a prizefighter and you find out one of these guys has been assigned to your fight, run.
• It hasn't been a good month for Square Ring, the promotional company owned by Roy Jones. In the span of three days, neither of the company's key fighters could make it out of the first round. Jones was knocked out in 122 seconds by Danny Green and Dmitriy Salita was knocked out by Amir Khan in 76 seconds. Ouch, babe.
• For the record: I absolutely love the idea of junior welterweights Devon Alexander and Khan defending their titles against good opponents on the same HBO telecast March 6. I think it could lead to an eventual Alexander-Khan showdown, something I've been interested in and first wrote about in August.
• Top Rank hopes that Miguel Cotto will return from his knockout loss to Pacquiao in June in New York on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Don't be shocked if Cotto moves up to junior middleweight to challenge New Yorker Yuri Foreman for his title. It would be a throwback sort of fight with the Big Apple's large Puerto Rican population supporting Cotto and the Jewish community supporting Foreman. I think it could actually be a pretty big fight. If it happens, I just hope Arum doesn't give me the finger again, like he did after Foreman's fight last month when he won his title against Daniel Santos on the Pacquiao-Cotto undercard.
• A hearty congratulations to a trio of non-participants who were elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame this week: manager Shelly Finkel, Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler and former Associated Press writer Ed Schuyler. I've known all three since I started covering boxing and all three are most deserving of the honor. You can say what you want about Finkel, who has made his share of enemies, but he's managed a who's who of boxing superstars and champions (Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Michael Moorer, Fernando Vargas, Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko and Manny Pacquiao, to barely scratch the surface) over the past 25 years. His résumé speaks for itself. With Trampler, Top Rank wouldn't be the formidable company it is today. He's the glue and one of the most revered matchmakers ever. No Top Rank fight is made without his stamp of approval. Schuyler, AP's national boxing writer for 32 years, is one of my journalism idols. He retired in 2002, but in the first couple of years of my career covering boxing, I got to cover fights with him. I sat next to him for many big fights and, to be honest, it was just as much of a thrill to learn from him at ringside as it was to cover the actual fights. He's a legend.