The next Pacquiao fight is on: a showdown between pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao and Cotto, two of boxing’s most popular and crowd-pleasing fighters, will meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 14 (HBO PPV), Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com on Monday.
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“It’s done,” said Arum, who was back at work in his Las Vegas office after a vacation in London and Italy and attending a wedding in Israel. “While I was away I reached a verbal agreement with each side. Pacquiao committed to the fight this weekend and Cotto the week before while I was in Israel. I was on the phone all the time trying to get this done.”
Arum said his attorney, Michael Heitner, was preparing the documents for signatures. “But everything is agreed or I wouldn’t say what I am saying,” Arum said. “The weight, the percentages, the guarantees — it’s all agreed to.”
Although the percentage split was not disclosed, Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) will receive more than 50 percent of the money. That was never a serious sticking point, however. The key holdup had been the contract weight.
Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs), a titleholder at 147 pounds, had agreed to drop below the welterweight limit for the fight. Pacquiao, the 140-pound junior welterweight champion, wanted him to come all the way down to 143 pounds. Cotto refused. Ultimately, they agreed on a 145-pound maximum weight.
Pacquiao, 30, the national hero of the Philippines, scored a sensational knockout of Ricky Hatton to win the junior welterweight title on May 2 at the MGM Grand. The victory gave Pacquiao a world championship in a record-tying sixth weight division.
Cotto, 28, of Puerto Rico, is coming off a bloody split decision victory in a title defense against Joshua Clottey on June 13 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Given their penchant for all-action brawls, Arum said he had high expectations that Cotto and Pacquiao would produce another memorable fight.
“I’m really excited because it’s a real fight. These are two real warriors,” Arum said. “Whichever way this fight goes, I think it’s going to be a classic because of the way these guys fight. There will be a lot of engagement. They’re great fighters. Cotto and Pacquiao are gutty guys. If you want blood and action and excitement, this is the fight.”
Arum said tickets would go on sale in late August followed by a three-city press tour.
“I want to get it done the week after Labor Day so I don’t interfere with the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight,” he said. “I don’t want [Golden Boy Promotions] saying I jumped them.”
Arum said the tentative tour schedule would be Sept. 9 in Los Angeles, Sept. 10 in New York and Sept. 12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Pacquiao and Cotto are both very pumped up for the fight,” he said.