The proposed megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, called off a day earlier, appeared to be back on late Thursday after Pacquiao signed a deal for the May 2 junior welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden.
Pacquiao apparently changed his mind after talking to his promoter, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
An agreement reached last month called for a 50-50 split of the revenue between the fighters, but Pacquiao refused to sign, demanding a bigger cut. The deal was amended to pay Pacquiao 52 percent and Hatton 48 percent.
“Manny called me Thursday evening and said he had signed the contract and was faxing it to my (Las Vegas) office. I hadn’t been able to talk to Manny. But once I did, I was able to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” Arum said from Los Angeles, where he is promoting Saturday’s welterweight title fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.
Arum told Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Hatton, that Pacquiao reconsidered and accepted the new offer. However, Schaefer is waiting to see the signed contract before he calls Hatton in Manchester, England, to let him know the fight is officially back on.
“Bob told me he should have a signed copy of the contract when his office opens (today),” Schaefer said Thursday. “I said, ‘That’s great,’ but I can’t call the Hattons until I know there’s a signed deal. I trust Bob, but after everything we’ve been through with this fight, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Pacquiao stands to have the biggest payday of his career. His purse for his knockout win over Oscar De La Hoya last month at the MGM was $6.6 million.
“When it’s all said and done, Manny could make $20 million for this fight,” Arum said.”He’s very happy.”
Thursday started acrimoniously as Pacquiao released a statement blasting Schaefer for criticizing him after the fight was called off.
But later in the day, Arum spoke to Pacquiao in the Philippines. Once he told Pacquiao of the changes in the original deal that would give him a higher percentage of the pay-per-view revenue in the Philippines, Pacquiao said he would sign.
“Arum and I came up with a creative solution that will satisfy both fighters,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said he wished Pacquiao had sent the faxed contract to his Los Angeles office, then he could have made the call to Hatton’s father and manager, Ray.
“I’m not going to call Ray Hatton in the middle of the night and tell him the fight’s on, and when he asks me if there’s a signed contract, I’d have to tell him no and he’d hang up on me,” Schaefer said.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.