- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) — Boxing promoter Top Rank will donate one dollar from every ticket it sells through the end of the year to Haitian earthquake relief.

The Las Vegas company will begin with Saturday night’s featherweight doubleheader at Madison Square Garden, where about 5,000 fans are expected to see Juan Manuel Lopez challenge Steven Luevano for the title. Yuriorkis Gamboa faces Rogers Mtagwa in the co-main event.

“Starting with this fight and every fight through the rest of the year,” Top Rank chief Bob Arum said Friday. “For a fight like this, it might be a few thousand, but for March 13 it could be 40 or 50 thousand.”

Manny Pacquiao makes his return to the ring on March 13 against Joshua Clottey at the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. The facility is being configured for 40,000 fans, but it could conceivably fit upward of 70,000 depending on demand. The lowest priced ticket is $50, or roughly the same as the suggested pay-per-view price.

Arum said he wasn’t sure how many tickets will be sold the rest of the year because there is no accurate way to predict how many shows will be put together, who will headline the shows and where they will take place.

“Hopefully other promoters will join us,” Arum said.

Top Rank does have a deal with Fox Sports for 36 televised shows in 2010, and Pacquiao — who draws huge crowds everywhere he goes — is expected to fight again later in the year. That means the potential sales could be in the hundreds of thousands.

“We had to do something,” Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels said. “It’s just devastating.”

While Top Rank doesn’t have any Haitian fighters under its wing, the sport has still been affected by the magnitude-7.0 quake. Haiti’s government estimates the Jan. 12 disaster killed 200,000 people, with another 250,000 injured and 2 million homeless in a nation of 9 million.

Among them were relatives of welterweight titleholder Andre Berto, who pulled out of a lucrative fight against Shane Mosley next week because of the strain caused by the earthquake.

Berto was born in Miami but represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics, after narrowly missing the U.S. team. He has many relatives on the island and has been involved in charity and relief efforts in his parents’ homeland for several years.

“I have received an incredible outpouring of support, and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s prayers for the people of Haiti,” Berto said. “I hope that everyone will continue to keep the Haitian people in their thoughts and prayers as we work to rebuild this proud nation.”

Berto has teamed with boxing equipment-maker Everlast to create a red and white T-shirt with his “AB” logo on the front, a silhouette of Haiti on the back and the words, “Greatness is Within.” The shirts cost $20 with all profits going to the American Red Cross.

Everlast has also donated $10,000 worth of clothing to the recently established Berto Dynasty Foundation, which will be distributed to those in Haiti who are without basic necessities.

“Like the rest of the world, we are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Haiti and are committed to using our resources to help those in need,” Everlast chief executive Neil Morton said in a statement.

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