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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Two of boxing's best to fight in nontitle bout in November at MGM

In the past, Bob Arum spent countless hours trying to get Manny Pacquiao to agree to a contract for a fight.

Not this time.

The Top Rank chairman announced Monday that everything is set for Pacquiao, considered boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter, to face WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden. The nontitle fight, scheduled for 12 rounds, will be contested at a catch weight of 145 pounds.

"I went directly to Manny this time," Arum said. "I was able to take my time and not rush anything, and when I made the offer to Manny, he said it was a fair offer and he accepted it."

Arum would not reveal how much each fighter will make. He said Pacquiao will receive the larger percentage of the purse. He also will receive a larger percentage from the pay-per-view sales. HBO will televise the fight.

Arum, who also promotes Cotto, said not having to deal with another promoter reduced the number of potential hassles during negotiations.

"It was easy because both fighters fight for me," he said. "The last couple of fights for Manny, I was dealing with another promoter (Golden Boy), and there are a lot of points to negotiate. But for this fight, I knew there was not going to be any of that. The only thing that was an issue was the size of the guarantee. But I was patient because I knew we would eventually have a deal."

Arum said tickets will go on sale in mid-August. Prices and a sale date will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pacquiao-Cotto has become a more attractive matchup thanks to the fighters' most recent appearances. Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 knockouts) is coming off a sensational second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton at 140 pounds on May 2 at the MGM. He had a win at 147 pounds over Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) scored a 12-round split decision over Joshua Clottey on June 13 in New York. He fought a courageous fight, overcoming a knockdown in the first round and a nasty cut over his left eye in the third following a head butt. The win boosted Cotto's status as a warrior, and Pacquiao, who was ringside at Madison Square Garden that night, said he wanted to fight Cotto.

The five weeks of negotiations wrapped up over the weekend, and Arum has a fight he said will be intriguing.

"It's a fun fight," he said. "Usually, I can figure out who is going to win a fight. I never had any doubt Manny would beat Oscar, and I knew he'd destroy Hatton.

"But Cotto is another story. This is a tough fight for Manny. Cotto is the stronger fighter, and Manny is the quicker fighter. To me, it's a toss-up."

Source: http://www.lvrj.com/sports/51297302.html

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