Friday, December 19, 2008
Details of Hatton-Pacquiao fight close to finalization
By Dan Rafael ESPN.com
It's just a matter of time until a Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao megafight is finalized.
"I think we're there. We're just mopping up little details," Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, told ESPN.com by phone Friday. "My guy is on board. I think everybody is on board. I am very upbeat."
Manny Pacquiao can look forward to big paydays after punching his way past Oscar De La Hoya.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, the promoter of Hatton, echoed Arum's sentiments, saying, "The conversations are coming along nicely. I talked to Ray Hatton [Ricky's father] and my hope is that we can finalize everything before the end of the year. I feel pretty good about it."
If the bout is finalized, it will take place May 2 on pay-per-view, Schaefer and Arum said. They said the bout likely would take place in Las Vegas, neutral territory roughly halfway between Hatton's home country of England and Pacquiao's native Philippines.
"But there are competing interests in Vegas," Arum said. "We can make a deal with different entities to have it at the Thomas & Mack Center or the MGM Grand. We will explore what the best deal is."
Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), the junior welterweight world champion, would defend his 140-pound title against Pacquiao, the pound-for-pound king who on Dec. 6 dominated Oscar De La Hoya en route to an eighth-round TKO in a welterweight fight at the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), who holds a lightweight belt, jumped up two weight divisions to meet De La Hoya, but will drop down one division to challenge Hatton, who defended his title with an 11th-round TKO of Paulie Malignaggi on Nov. 22, also at the MGM.
Ricky Hatton defeated Paulie Malignaggi in November. Hatton won by TKO in the 11th round.
The fight would be just the latest collaboration between Golden Boy and Top Rank after they settled a variety of lawsuits against each other, including one over Pacquiao's promotional rights.
Schaefer said the goal of both companies is just to make the biggest and best fights possible.
"Bob and I had a very nice meeting before the press conference [two weeks ago] to announce the Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley fight and we laid out some plans for next year," Schaefer said. "Bob wants to put together the biggest fights and I want to do the same. We both want to do events, big events, which really capture the imagination of sports fans. Hatton-Pacquiao would certainly do that. They are two of the most popular fighters in the world and also two of the very best."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.