JANUARY 28, 2009
(STAR) Ricky Hatton’s lawyer Gareth Williams said “all the pressure is off now” regarding the May 2 showdown between the British superstar and the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer today, Manny Pacquiao.

Williams told The Daily Telegraph in the U.K. that they now have a copy of the fight contract signed by the Filipino superstar, and added that he sees no problem with Hatton putting his name over the dotted line.

“It won’t be a problem and we’ll announce the fight at a press conference on Thursday. All the pressure is off now,” said Williams of the development that came after weeks of turbulence regarding the purse split.

Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy, representing Hatton, and Bob Arum of Top Rank, representing Pacquiao, had previously agreed on an even 50-50 split of everything between the two explosive fighters.

But Pacquiao suddenly renewed his demands, saying he deserved more than a 50 percent share, calling for a 60-40 split that eventually ended up at 52-48 in his favor.

On top of this, the bulk of which would come from the huge pay-per-view prospects in the U.K., Pacquiao will receive a guaranteed purse of $13 million based on his agreement with Arum.

Pacquiao’s lawyer, Franklin Gacal, said Hatton might also end up getting more than what was basically approved upon depending on his talks with his own promoter.

“They can do their own mathematics. They can have their own deal – between Hatton and Golden Boy. What’s important is for both fighters to sign the contract,” Gacal said.

“All they’ve waited for is a fight contract signed by Manny. And now that it’s in their hands, I believe that Hatton will sign it if he hasn’t signed it yet,” said Pacquiao’s lawyer.

“We have got the contract, signed by Manny,” Williams told PA Sport.

Arum had planned to fly to Manila so they could officially announce that the fight is all set to take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Gacal said Pacquiao plans to leave for the US on the second or third week of February to join the press tour in the U.K. and in several key cities in the United States.

Then Pacquiao begins to train at the Wild Card Gym on March 1, and get ready for his first fight of the 2009. – Abac Cordero

Pacquiao-Hatton May 2 bout final - Arum By Abac Cordero Updated January 01, 2009 12:00 AM

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Manny Pacquiao]

With the birth of his fourth child, a bouncing baby girl to be named Queen Elizabeth, came some very good news about Manny Pacquiao’s plans for 2009.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, yesterday said it’s green and go for the May 2 showdown against Manchester’s Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas.

Arum told The STAR over the phone that everything has been ironed out, from the fight venue, at least that it’s going to be held in Sin City, to the fight purse.

“No more concerns,” said Arum, counting out any possibility that the fight would be staged in Hatton’s home turf, the Wembley Stadium in England.

“In other words, we’ve arrived at a point where everybody is satisfied,” added the ageless promoter who had dinner with Team Pacquiao the other day.

Arum said Pacquiao is in for another big payday when he faces Hatton, the pride of Manchester and recognized king of the 140-pound division.

Arum, however, did not reveal any amount or how the purse would be divided between the two fighters of practically the same style – rugged and fearless.

Arum was asked if Pacquiao, all set to clinch ESPN’s Champion of Champions award for 2008 last night, was to get the lion’s share of the purse. He got no less than $10 million for fighting Oscar dela Hoya.

“Well, not necessarily, but we are not getting the smaller share if you know what I mean. A tremendous percentage of the money will come from England (pay-per-view),” he said.

“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.”

Pacquiao came to the meeting with his trainer Freddie Roach, and lawyer Franklin Gacal, who had to stay behind as the boxer was told that his wife Jinkee was ready to give birth.

Pacquiao rushed home to La Brea in his black, convertible Mercedes, and brought Jinkee to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Hospital using their Lincoln Navigator.

Jinkee, who stayed on in the US after Pacquiao defeated Dela Hoya last Dec. 6, labored for four hours and gave birth at 6:37 a.m. (10:37 p.m. Tuesday in Manila).

Pacquiao was with Jinkee inside the delivery room, and reports said the boxer cut the baby’s umbilical cord himself. The baby weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

It was the second girl for the Pacquiaos’ who have two sons, Michael and Jimwell, who were born on the same year in 2001, and another girl, Princess, who was born in 2006.

The ESPN balloting came to a close yesterday with Pacquiao earning 90.75 percent and Malaysian squash superstar Nicol David getting just a fraction at 9.25 percent.

In ESPN’s All-Sports Nation Team, Pacquiao also stood on top with 98.1 percent followed by swimmer Michael Phelps (1.6), sprinter Usain Bolt (1.3), NBA’s Kobe Bryant (1.1) and golf’s Tiger Woods (1.0).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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