Now that Manny Pacquiao is going to defend his welterweight title against former belt holder Joshua Clottey -- instead of against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the fight the world wanted to see before the sides handled the entire situation like a hand grenade -- on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, it's time to start thinking about what else is going to be on the pay-per-view undercard. More on that in a minute.
While Pacquiao-Mayweather would have been on HBO PPV, Top Rank is handling the Pacquiao-Clottey pay-per-view on its own, at least for now, according to company president Todd duBoef, who was with boss Bob Arum in Dallas this weekend meeting with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to finalize the deal, while also taking in the Cowboys' Saturday night NFL wild-card playoff victory against the Philadelphia Eagles as one of Jones' guests.
The stadium won't be set up for the 100,000 capacity. Instead, it will use a setup that would accommodate around 40,000, according to duBoef, who told me the other night he was "blown away" by the stadium.
Whether HBO or another network gets involved in the Pacquiao-Clottey fight remains to be seen, but duBoef said any of them are welcome to make an offer and that there has been some discussion with HBO. But with Mayweather also possibly fighting in March, the network doesn't seem quite sure what it wants to do yet. HBO has a hard decision to make: Support Pacquiao, support Mayweather, support both weak pay-per-views or support neither.
In any event, Top Rank is moving full steam ahead with its event.
DuBoef said former welterweight titleholder Antonio Margarito would fight on the pay-per-view card in the co-feature. Margarito had his license revoked in California for attempting to load his gloves with an illegal substance before facing Shane Mosley in January '09 and is eligible to ask for his license back after a year, although there is no guarantee he will get it.
However, it is possible Margarito will be licensed in Texas without going to California first. It will be interesting to see what happens on that front.
If he's licensed, Margarito's opponent could be Carson Jones (24-7-1, 15 KOs), who thoroughly exposed Tyrone Brunson with a third-round knockout win against the prospect Dec. 4.
In addition to a potential Margarito fight, there are two other bouts Top Rank plans to include on the pay-per-view telecast:
• A welterweight bout between Alfonso Gomez (21-4-2, 10 KOs) and former two-time lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo (60-9-1, 52 KOs). It's a meaningless fight, but it could at least have some fireworks. Gomez's most recent bout was on the Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto undercard Nov. 14. He won a six-round technical decision against fringe contender Jesus Soto Karass. Castillo has won four bouts in a row against woeful opposition in Mexico.
• A showcase for junior featherweight prospect Roberto Marroquin (11-0, 8 KOs), a 20-year-old from Dallas with a bright future. Marroquin has an interim bout Feb. 6.