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Friday, July 3, 2009

Pacquiao-Cotto stays on track

Shane Mosley's disappointment notwithstanding, the big fight of the fall -- welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto against pound-for-pound king/junior welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao -- remains on track.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum intends to finalize the HBO PPV bout for Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's going to be huge, but it's just not done yet.

These things take time, especially when Pacquiao is half a world away in the Philippines. But Arum doesn't seem concerned. He told me last weekend when I was in Atlantic City, N.J., covering his "Latin Fury 9" pay-per-view card that things on the Cotto side were agreed to in principle and they were just ironing out the "the small stuff."

Arum apparently isn't too concerned about working things out with Pacquiao, either, because he took off Wednesday for a two-week European vacation.

Last week, Arum met with Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz in Las Vegas and delivered him an offer to take to Pacquiao. Although nobody wants to say anything publicly, it is believed that Pacquiao would receive at least a $12 million guarantee plus a generous upside on the pay-per-view sales and other considerations.

Koncz was supposed to return to the Philippines on Sunday to meet with Pacquiao to discuss the proposal, but he wound up staying in the United States a little longer than expected and won't leave until Friday.

Koncz said that once he arrives in the Philippines, he'll meet with Pacquiao. So far, Koncz likes what he sees in the offer.

"I'll relay the offer to Manny when I get to the Philippines, but we're in the same ballpark with [Arum]," Koncz told me from Las Vegas on Wednesday. "I was pleasantly surprised with the offer. But it's a negotiation, so we probably won't accept the first offer, but we're not far off. The talks I had with Bob were good. So I will bring Manny the offer. We'll probably counter, but I think it will get worked out. We're really not that far off. I can't say for sure, though, because Manny makes that decision, but I think it looks good. This is the fight Manny says he wants."

The weight for the fight hasn't been set in stone, but it's going to be either 144 or 145 pounds. Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told me he would be OK with 145 if necessary. Arum said he thought Cotto would be able to safely make 144 based on what his nutritionist said.

Either way, a fight of this magnitude isn't going to fall apart over one pound. The folks at Top Rank are so confident that the fight will happen that they are already having internal discussions about the undercard, which could include junior lightweight titlist Humberto Soto and junior middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan, who was impressive in his sixth-round knockout of Andrey Tsurkan on last week's "Latin Fury 9" undercard.

I figure once Arum is back from vacation, it won't be too long until an official announcement for the fight is made.

Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4302820&name=rafael_dan

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