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Arum wants megafight in Vegas

Even under a gag order, it’s hard for Bob Arum to remain completely silent about a potential megafight between boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The Top Rank chairman said Tuesday he’d like to see the fight take place in Las Vegas, the hometown of Arum and Mayweather and the site of Pacquiao’s greatest ring triumphs.

But there is fierce competition from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who wants to put the fight in his new $1.3 billion, 80,000-seat stadium in Arlington, Texas. Arum also said New Orleans has shown strong interest in hosting the fight at the 70,000-seat Louisiana Superdome.

“A lot of places want to host,” Arum said Tuesday at the Las Vegas Hilton, where he had a news conference to promote the Dec. 19 world middleweight championship fight between Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Espino in Youngstown, Ohio. “But for tax purposes, you have to have it in either Nevada or Texas, where there is no state income tax. That’s why we probably couldn’t have it in New York or New Jersey.

“There’s talk the governor (Bobby Jindal) might waive the tax for this fight if it went to New Orleans. But he’d have to do that for it to have any chance of happening there.”

One possible Las Vegas venue is a proposed 30,000-seat temporary stadium on the site formerly occupied by the Frontier across from Wynn Las Vegas. Public relations consultant Sig Rogich is working on the Frontier site on Arum’s behalf and has talked to Steve Wynn about partnering on the project.

“We want to do everything we can to bring this fight to Las Vegas,” Rogich said. “We want to look at whatever makes good economic and logistic sense.”

Rogich is waiting to hear back from Elad Properties, which owns the Frontier site. He also is in the process of soliciting bids on what it would cost to construct the stadium.

“It would be a temporary arena just for this fight,” he said. “We’re still pricing it out, and it would have to pencil out economically.”

Arum dismissed the possibility of using Sam Boyd Stadium, which would seat as many as 45,000 and has luxury suites and club seating. But he said the Thomas & Mack Center, which could seat 20,000-plus for boxing, remains an alternative.

“It’s too far away from the Strip,” Arum said of Sam Boyd. “The casinos aren’t going to support it there. But the Thomas & Mack would be potentially big enough.”

The MGM Grand Garden, which seats 16,200 for boxing, might not be big enough for Pacquiao-Mayweather.

Regardless of the venue, Rogich said Las Vegas needs this fight to boost its sagging economy.

“The town needs it, and the promoters want it here,” he said. “I think the casinos realize this is one of those united-we-stand, divided-we-fall moments, and I believe they will work together to bring the fight to Las Vegas.”

Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, met Monday at the MGM Grand with Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions who is assisting in representing Mayweather.

Arum said he couldn’t talk about specifics of the meeting but was confident both sides could strike a deal for a fight in May.

“There’s really not much I can say,” Arum said. “We had one meeting, it was a good meeting, and we’ll talk again over the next few days.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

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