Ricky Hatton "on board" with Pacquiao fight being in Vegas
The final stumbling block to a Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight on May 2 vanished today when Britain's Hatton agreed that the best site to stage the bout would be Las Vegas, not his home country.
Hatton's promoter, Richard Schaefer, told The Times that he and Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, have scheduled meetings Tuesday in Las Vegas with Planet Hollywood executive Robert Earl and MGM/Mirage entertainment/sports chief Richard Sturm to determine whether the 140-pound fight will be hosted at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center (sponsored by Planet Hollywood) or MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Pacquiao defeated Oscar De La Hoya last month.
"Ricky's preference was the U.K., but he's realized that was not the best place for this fight, just like the Philippines [Pacquiao's home country] wasn't," Schaefer said. "This is right in the middle."
Although fighter contracts have yet to be signed, Schaefer said Hatton has verbally agreed to all key terms and should ink the deal "within the next week. You can't rush attorneys." Pacquiao, too, is "on board" with the terms, Schaefer said.
Hatton, after being knocked out in December 2007 by the man considered boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter then, welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr., now gets a second shot at the holder of that mythical title in a more ideal junior-welterweight match. He pounded Paulie Malignaggi in a 140-pound bout in November.
"Being at 147 was clearly not Hatton's best weight; Ricky's unbeaten at 140," Schaefer said.
Pacquiao, voted fighter of 2008 by many boxing publications, will fight in a fourth different weight category in his fourth consecutive bout. He won super-featherweight and lightweight titles last year, then punished De La Hoya at 147 pounds.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Ricky Hatton hits Paulie Malignaggi during the third round of their junior-welterweight boxing match in Las Vegas in November. Hatton won the fight by TKO in the 11th round. Credit: John Locher / Las Vegas Review-Journal