Who’s afraid of Yuri Foreman? Pacquiao!


It’s bad enough that the Cowboys trounced the Eagles on Saturday night. But then I have to read this:

Jerry Jones got his fight.

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who made a strong pitch to host the now-aborted Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight at Cowboys Stadium by offering a record $25 million site fee, landed the next best thing.

The new $1.2 billion state-of-the-art facility in Arlington, Texas, will host Pacquiao’s March 13 pay-per-view welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey.

Jones and Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Todd duBoef, who toured the facility and were Jones’ guests at Saturday night’s Cowboys playoff victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, closed the deal for the bout on Sunday afternoon.

Why does JTA’s editor care? And why should you care that JTA’s editor cares?

Because this officially closes the door (at least for now) on the buzz that Orthodox Jewish boxing sensation Yuri Foreman — fresh off winning his own championship belt — was going to get a crack at Pacquiao, considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter today.

Here’s the L.A. Times on why Pacquiao decided against a Foreman fight:

… Pacquiao’s U.S. business manager Michael Koncz told The Times that "Manny’s concerned about Foreman’s height. We’ll go through the entire [welterweight and junior welterweight] categories and see what we can come up with."

At 5-foot-11, Foreman (28-0, eight knockouts) is 5 1/2 inches taller than Pacquiao and 3 inches taller than Mayweather Jr., whose insistence on more stringent drug testing derailed a welterweight title fight that had been scheduled for March 13 in Las Vegas. Arum, Pacquiao’s  promoter, declared the fight dead after a contentious nine-hour negotiating session with a mediator in Santa Monica, Calif., failed to resolve the drug-testing issue.

For Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), the draw of a match with Foreman was the chance to win a world title in a record eighth weight class. But that also would require Pacquiao to go up in weight, to 154 pounds. That could make it difficult for him to cut down again if  the multimillion-dollar megafight with Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) ever materializes.

Meanwhile, for Foreman, the first Israeli boxing champion in history, taking on the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world — if not history — would mean his biggest payday ever.

"It’s a real honor the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world doesn’t want to fight me," Foreman, who also is represented by Arum, said from Brooklyn, N.Y. "Aside from winning the world title, this is the greatest compliment I’ve gotten in boxing."

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