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Monday, December 29, 2008

Hatton’s promoter confirms Pacquiao-Hatton spring fight

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The promo­ter of British boxing star Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton has confirmed negotiations for a spring fight between the British boxing star and Filipino icon Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao, most likely in Las Vegas.

Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive officer, said he has been in touch with Hatton and his father and manager Ray for a matchup at welterweight between the two sluggers.

Schaefer’s statement is in line with the announcement made in the Philippines by Top Rank’s Bob Arum that he is working on a Pacquiao-Hatton super fight for May 2 in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 knock outs), who cemented his stature as the world’s best boxer pound-for-pound after stopping Oscar de la Hoya on December 6, said he is ready to fight either Hatton or Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the first half of 2009.

The Filipino star had never fought above 135 pounds (61 kilograms), but he moved up two weight classes to batter De La Hoya, who didn’t get off his stool after the eighth round.

The proposed fight would match boxing’s unofficial pound-for-pound champion against one of the world’s most popular brawlers, assuredly generating huge paydays for both fighters.

“I’m encouraged by the way it’s going, and I’m talking to the Hattons [on Friday] again,” Schaefer said. “You really have two of the most popular fighters of their generation fighting each other, and that’s the kind of fight we want to make.”

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 knockouts) seems to be at the peak of his skills and international fame after stopping Oscar de la Hoya in their long-anticipated bout on December 6.

The Filipino star had never fought above 135 pounds (61 kilograms), but he moved up two weight classes to batter de la Hoya, who didn’t get off his stool after the eighth round.

He would move back down one weight class to face Hatton (45-1, 32 knockouts), the hard-living English star who won his last bout against Paulie Malignaggi on November 22, defending his 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) title.

Schaefer said the sides are still negotiating the fight’s location, but he would like to see it in boxing’s capital city.

“This is a fight with tremendous global appeal, and both of them have built up a very strong following here,” Schaefer said. “With Manny’s following in Asia and Ricky’s support in Europe, you could say Las Vegas is the center of everything.”

Golden Boy has a promotional deal with Hatton. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents Pacquiao, was traveling back from the Philippines on Thursday after celebrating Pacquiao’s title.

Schaefer also will soon make a formal announcement of a February 28 bout in Houston between Juan Manuel Marquez and David Diaz.

Marquez (49-4-1, 36 knockouts), the Mexican star who has been Pacquiao’s toughest opponent in recent years, won his lightweight debut in September, stopping Cuba’s Joel Casamayor.


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