Pacquiao-Hatton alive again?
Do you believe in life after death? Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, does. Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, Ricky Hatton’s U.S. promoter, isn’t so sure.
One day ago, the promoters said that the proposed May 2 match up between two of the biggest draws in boxing was dead because the fighters couldn’t come to terms. That seemed to be that.
A day later, on Thursday, Arum announced he’s flying to the Philippines on Sunday night to meet with Pacquiao and hopes to come back with a signed contract on Thursday.
The Pacquiao side is so optimistic suddenly that two press conferences apparently have been scheduled for next week, one in Manila and another in Cebu, to announce the signing.
The negotiations ended when the parties initially agreed to a 50-50 split of the purse and then Pacquiao later demanded a 60-40 split. Arum indicated the final split will be 52-48 in Pacquiao’s favor.
“The fight was never off,” Arum said shortly before the Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley news conference started Thursday. “With Filipinos, it’s never off. It’s an on-running drama. ÔÇª All you need to know is 77-year-old Bob Arum on Sunday night is flying to Manila for a Tuesday meeting with Manny Pacquiao which I’m very optimistic will result in the fight happening.”
He added later, however, “Who the hell knows what’s going to happen? It’s changed 20 times already.”
Schaefer is thinking along those lines.
“I’ve been told by Bob every day for two weeks now that the next day I’ll have a signed contract on my desk,” he said. “I didn’t sleep next to the fax after the second night because I didn’t believe it anymore. And I don’t believe it now. I have no reason to believe it. ÔÇª I don’t blame Bob. This is what these people in the Philippines are telling him. Now they’re telling him again. What would you think?
“ÔÇª Pacquiao probably won’t even show up. Bob wasn’t able to reach him for two weeks. Freddie Roach, his trainer, couldn’t reach him for two weeks. Why would I think Pacquiao is going to show up and meet Bob? That’s what they like to do; they like to play games.”
And if Arum does get Pacquiao to sign?
“I talked to Ray (Hatton, the fighter’s father) about that,” Schaefer said. “He made it clear that I should go full-steam ahead with negotiations for other potential megafights for Ricky. They had conversations with Wembley Stadium (in London) for a summer showdown.
“The press tour (for Pacquiao-Hatton) next week has been canceled. The bottom line is, if I would have a signed contract in front of me and I call Ray Hatton, I don’t know what he’s going to say.”
No matter the split, a lot of money is at stake.
Pacquiao has been guaranteed $12 million, more than he could possibly make against any other fighter with the possible exception of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Still, Arum said Pacquiao’s stubborn refusal to go 50-50 is less about money than most people think and more about respect. He said Pacquiao and his advisors weren’t pleased that the Hatton’s gave him a deadline to sign a contract.
“It was a mistake that Hatton made, that Richard made and that I made by not telling them,” Arum said. “When you make a deadline, it’s an ultimatum. You don’t give Filipinos ultimatums. The ÔÇª crazy Filipinos after the American troops surrendered at Bataan and Corregidor in the second world war fought the Japanese for the next three years. You just don’t give them ultimatums. They’re a very, very resilient, determined kind of people.
“ÔÇª Now the big American promoter has to go over to the Philippines and speak to the fighter, pay him the respect he deserves, and hopefully get the contract signed.”
In the meantime, Schaefer said possible opponents for Hatton are Mayweather, the winner of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz fight on Feb. 28 or Oscar De La Hoya, possibly at Wembley.
Schaefer said he doesn’t know whether De La Hoya plans to fight again let alone whether he’d be interested in facing Hatton.
“Ultimately, that’s Oscar’s decision,” Schaefer said about retirement. “I don’t know whether Oscar would be intrigued, interested in fighting Hatton in England. I’ll talk to him this week and we’ll see.”