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Manny Pacquiao nears agreement to fight Ricky Hatton

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A day after negotiations appeared to be crumbling, Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, just told me that Pacquiao’s advisors are now ‘on board’ with a 50-50 purse split with Ricky Hatton, and he expects that, ‘by tomorrow, I’ll have a signed contract.’

‘There was a lot of confusion about why we did 50-50, but everyone now understands why this is a good deal,’ Arum said. ‘This thing is going to happen. Yesterday was disarray. Today, everything’s back in order.’

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Arum said Pacquiao’s retreat from a prior verbal agreement and push for a 60-40 percentage in his favor didn’t account for the fact that he would receive half of the money coming from television rights in Britain, revenue that is greatly ‘attributable to Hatton,’ who hails from England, Arum said.

Hatton will also draw at least half of the live gate, Arum predicted, crediting Pacquiao for driving the U.S. pay-per-view sales.

Arum said Hatton’s 2007 opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jr., didn’t receive any British television money, and when he explained that to Pacquiao’s attorney, Franklin Gacal, and the fighter’s American and Philippine advisors, ‘everybody is now calmed down.’ Arum said he has received a thumbs-up from all three Pacquiao advisors to proceed for a 140-pound May 2 fight in Las Vegas that will match the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world against the charismatic Hatton, who has never lost at 140.

Pacquiao today is running a basketball tournament in the Philippines, but he’s expected to sign the contract sometime Thursday -- much to the relief of Arum, Hatton and legions of boxing fans.

-- Lance Pugmire


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