- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Manny Pacquiao's first choice for his Dec. 8 HBO PPV fight was a rematch with Miguel Cotto but, as we all know by now, Cotto turned down Top Rank's offer and instead will challenge junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout on Dec. 1 (Showtime) at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Cotto will make much less for the Trout fight compared to what he could have earned against Pacquiao, but Cotto told me in an interview last week that he felt disrespected by Top Rank's offer, the same $6.5 million (plus pay-per-view upside) he was offered for his first fight with Pacquiao in 2009.
In addition, Cotto refused to fight at a catchweight of 150 pounds. If Pacquiao wanted the fight, Cotto said it would have to be at a maximum of 154, the junior middleweight limit where he had been fighting for the past few years.
Top Rank's Bob Arum had previously said that he offered Cotto $13 million for the Pacquiao rematch. That's a big difference between the two sides understanding of the supposed deal. Arum called me and said he had read Cotto's comments about the offer and his reasons for rejecting the Pacquiao rematch. He wanted to further explain the offer he said he made.
"No. 1, I never once talked to Cotto about the fight with Pacquiao," Arum said. "I talked to [Cotto attorney and adviser] Gaby [Penagaricano] and he was supposed to relay everything to Miguel. So now the first thing I establish was is Miguel amenable to 150 pounds? And the word came back that if we could agree on the [financial] numbers, he would agree to 150.
"Then we started talking about a proposal and, in essence, I offered him a deal based on the last fight that he had done with Pacquiao, where he wound up making like $12 million after all of the pay-per-view money. And then we further negotiated that he would make another million dollars more, so we loaded up a deal where I guaranteed $9 million plus an upside that would have gotten him to $13 million if the fight had done the same [PPV] number as the first fight [which was about 1.15 million buys]. And then we figured out that if we were able to raise that number by a couple of hundred thousand homes, which was not out of the question, that he would then make about $15 million."
Arum said he wanted to make it clear that he did not blame Cotto for the deal falling apart. He placed the blame on Penagaricano, whom he said must not have given Cotto all of the facts of the offer.
"I think Cotto is an honest guy, totally honest; I think Gaby was playing games," Arum said. "I think Gaby wanted to do the Garden thing because it would be his entree into what he considered big-time promotion. I think that's what happened. I don't trust Penagaricano. I think he has another agenda. I trust Miguel."
Cotto's promotional company is spearheading the promotion of the Trout fight with assistance from Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted Cotto's May fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. That was the first fight of Cotto's career without Top Rank as his promoter.
Penagaricano denied Arum's charge.
"It's not true," he said. "As I have always done for the last seven or eight years in Miguel's career, I conveyed to my client every single piece of information I got from Top Rank about a potential Pacquiao fight and it was ultimately Miguel's decision not to take it.
"I think what Bob doesn't understand is the position Miguel is in. Normally any fighter would jump at the possibility of fighting Mayweather or Pacquiao. It's a lot of money. But Miguel is in a different position. He can make a lot of money fighting other people as well. He can constantly say no to a Pacquiao or Mayweather if the deal is not structured how he wants it."
Manny Pacquiao's first choice for his Dec. 8 HBO PPV fight was a rematch with Miguel Cotto but, as we all know by now, Cotto turned down Top Rank's offer and instead will challenge junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout on Dec.