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Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton bout on brink of collapse?

January 20, 2009 |  6:34 pm

Manny Pacquiao, right, hits Oscar De La Hoya during their Dec. 6, 2008 fight in Las Vegas.

Ricky Hatton and his representatives are close to running out of patience, according to the British boxer's promoter, and if Manny Pacquiao doesn't send a signed contract to his own promoter by early Wednesday morning, Hatton is ready to scrap the May 2 super-fight at 140 pounds, his promoter said late Tuesday.

Richard Schaefer of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions told me today that Hatton, his father, Ray, and the Hattons' attorney informed him that they've tired of waiting for Filipino star Pacquiao to accept a verbal deal that the fighters would agree to a 50/50 split of the purse. Schaefer said he and Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, have sweetened the deal further by granting Pacquiao a percentage of promotional profits.

Ricky HattonPacquiao had verbally agreed to the 50/50 split in December, but Schaefer said he's "embarrassed" to have to repeatedly share morning phone calls with the Hattons and tell them that Pacquiao has yet to sign a contract.

Schaefer said if the contract is not signed by midnight on Wednesday, the Hattons have directed him to move on to other opponents, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., the winner of next month's Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz fight or even a possible match against De La Hoya.

Hatton was positioned to fight De La Hoya this year in England until Pacquiao earned an estimated $11 million by pounding De La Hoya last month, forcing the "Golden Boy" to quit the fight before the ninth round.

"It's happened before -- it happened with Shane [Mosley] -- when these guys beat Oscar, they think they're going to get Oscar money, and that's just not going to happen," Schaefer said. "If he doesn't want to make the most money he's ever made in a fight, [Pacquiao] can go fight someone else for $2 million."

Pacquiao promoter's, Arum, is similarly at his wit's end.

"I've communicated Richard's message to the Philippines, let's see what happens tonight," Arum said. "If they send me a signed contract, we've got a fight. If not, Hatton will call it off and that'll be that. I've done everything humanly possible to make this fight.

"It's up to them. They'll be losing big money by not taking it. Why won't they sign? There's no way it makes any sense."

Arum said he and Pacquiao's Hollywood-based trainer, Freddie Roach, haven't been able to speak directly to Pacquiao in two weeks, with the boxer's advisors and legal counsel serving as intermediaries.

"It's like one of those guys wants to be a hero," Arum said. "It's been very difficult dealing with that situation, and a 16-hour time difference."

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo (top): Manny Pacquiao, right, hits Oscar De La Hoya during their Dec. 6, 2008 fight in Las Vegas. Credit: Ethan Miller / AFP Photo / Getty Images

Photo (inset): Ricky Hatton. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press