Norm Frauenheim

Arizona venue official calls Cotto-Margarito II “Doable”

Top Rank Inc. contacted US Airways Center about the Miguel CottoAntonio Margarito rematch late last week, said Ralph Marchetta Sr., the arena’s senior vice-president and general manager.

“We did receive a call,” said Marchetta on Monday. “I guess we’re one of the options.

They asked about availability. At this point, that’s pretty much it. They indicated we’d hear something within 24 to 48 hours.”

US Airways Center is home for the Phoenix Suns, who aren’t playing because of the ongoing NBA work stoppage. Neither a concert nor any other event is scheduled for the arena on Dec. 3.

With less than two weeks left before opening bell, printing tickets, putting them up for sale and other logistics involved in staging a major fight would put some pressure on the arena, which is located in downtown Phoenix.

“We certainly could do it,” said Marchetta. “It would be a push. But it is doable.”

It wasn’t clear Monday afternoon whether Margarito would be licensed by the Arizona State Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission if he is denied in New York.

Arizona licensed him for three fights in smaller Phoenix venues. But all three happened long before he suffered an eye injury last November in a loss to Manny Pacquiao in Dallas.

Margarito scored a second-round TKO in a HBO-televised bout in 2004 over Hercules Kyvelos at Dodge Theatre, a second-round stoppage of Maurice Brantley in 2003 at Celebrity Theatre and a first-round knockout of Jose Luis Benitez in 2000 at El Gran Mercado.

Margarito’s company, Showdown Promotions, also has done business with the Arizona commission for two cards – one in June in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb, and the second in September in Parker on the Colorado River – featuring Top Rank prospect Jose Benavidez Jr., an unbeaten junior-welterweight from Phoenix.

US Airways has staged other notable bouts. In July, Phoenix super-middleweight Jesus Gonzales won a unanimous decision over Francisco Sierra in an ESPN-televised bout in front of a US Airways crowd of about 5,000.

Julio Cesar Chavez’ legendary career ended at the arena in 2005 in a loss to Grover Wiley on a card that included his son, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.’s 21st victory, a stoppage of Corey Alarcon.  

Two cards featuring Phoenix Hall of Fame junior flyweight Michael Carbajal in 1993 and 1994 drew capacity crowds to the venue, which then was called America West Arena and had a listed capacity of 19,023 seats.


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