Bob Arum]

MANILA, JANUARY 2, 2009 (STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao, his promoter Bob Arum hinted, is open to three fights this year.

The Filipino superstar is locked on to face Britain’s Ricky Hatton on May 2 in Las Vegas, and is hoping to land an even bigger fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. later on.

But Arum said if Mayweather, who retired last June as the undefeated pound-for-pound champion, doesn’t come out in the open, Pacquiao might consider two more fights.

Pacquiao said he wants to retire this year, and Arum, the legendary Top Rank chief, wants to make sure that boxing’s biggest draw today makes the most of his chances.

“If Floyd Mayweather is not available after we fight Hatton, then we can fight Edwin Valero,” said Arum, close to finalizing the deal with the Hatton people for the May 2 bout.

“There are a number of people out there although the fight may not be as big as Mayweather,” he added after dropping the name of the Venezuelan knockout artist.

Among the other worthy contenders are Joan Guzman or Zab Judah and, of course, Juan Manuel Marquez, the only fighter who really came close to beating Pacquiao in nearly three years.

Again, none of these fights can match the attention a fight with Mayweather would draw, considering that it will be a fight between two pound-for-pound champions of the same era.

“If Mayweather is not there, we can fight two more fights to make up for it. Manny can fight three times this year,” said Arum over the telephone.

But Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach wants Pacquiao going up against Hatton, and then Mayweather.

“In a perfect world, I would like to see him fight Ricky Hatton and then Floyd Mayweather Jr. and then I would like to see Manny retire, and become President of the Philippines,” he told fighthype.com.

Going back to things on hand, the matchmaking genius said Pacquiao stands to earn a lot, even more than what he earned against Oscar dela Hoya, for facing Hatton.

“There’s a good chance that Manny will earn more in this fight,” said Arum of Pacquiao, who got no less than $10 million despite the smaller 32 percent take against Dela Hoya’s 68 percent.

Arum said there’d be no such disparity in the Pacquiao-Hatton pie.

“Manny may get more but not much, much more because Ricky Hatton brings more to the table than anybody else Manny could fight at the moment,” he said.

“But we are not getting the smaller share if you know what I mean. A tremendous percentage of the money will come from England,” he added in recognizing Hatton’s pay-per-view draw back home.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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