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Staples offers $20 million for mega-bout

The arena's effort to host the planned clash of Mayweather and Pacquiao would draw on LA Live complex.

December 10, 2009|By Lance Pugmire

Staples Center has made a guaranteed $20-million offer to host the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. mega-fight that has been tentatively agreed on by the boxers to be fought March 13.

"This is the biggest boxing event ever, and we're prepared to step up in a big way," said Dan Beckerman, chief financial officer for AEG, which runs Staples Center.

Pacquiao and Mayweather have not officially agreed to the fight, but their promoters are already looking to secure a site for the lucrative bout that is the talk of the boxing community.

Beckerman said his pitch to Mayweather's promoter Richard Schaefer and Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum is to "activate the entire LA Live campus" in downtown Los Angeles on fight week.

The new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels would serve as media headquarters, a fan-fest would be staged at Nokia Plaza, a large closed-circuit audience could watch the bout at Nokia Theatre and 20,000 would fill Staples Center, Beckerman said.

"We know there's interest in this fight across the world, but we're very interested and honored to make the most impressive offer possible," Beckerman said. "It's our biggest guarantee ever, and we hope it wins the day. We wanted to push as far and as hard as we could."

Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, which counts AEG as a partner, declined to immediately comment on any site deals. He canceled a planned trip to tour Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which has been considered as a possible fight site, on Wednesday.

Schaefer declined to say the Dallas site deal was dead. "I don't need to tour any facilities. I'm a numbers guy. Numbers transmit over the fax machine as well as they do in person, and I've yet to see any numbers from them. I'm told things are bigger in Texas, but Staples has stepped up and presented us the numbers. Money talks," he said.

However, one of the barriers to staging the bout in California, promoters say, is the state taxes required from the boxers -- payments not required in Nevada and Texas. "That's certainly a factor in the overall economics, and one thing we'd have to overcome," Beckerman said.

Staples has at least won the right to stage another fight of interest, the fourth fight between featherweights Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez, on May 22, Beckerman said.

The trilogy had two fights at AEG's Home Depot Center, with Marquez and Huntington Park's Vazquez splitting the pair.

"That's a great L.A. fight and the fourth installment appropriately needs to step up to the bigger venue," Beckerman said.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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