MANILA, JUNE 15, 2009
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Bob Arum is taking the first step leading to a Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto showdown.

“We’re going to have to talk to the Cotto people,” the Top Rank big boss told Saturday after watching Cotto, the pride of Puerto Rico, keep his WBO welterweight crown with a split decision over Ghana’s Josh Clottey at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

Pacquiao watched from ringside, flanked by his wife Jinkee and Arum. The pound-for-pound champion watched with interest, and was up on his feet late in the fifth round as Clottey lay on the floor after being wrestled down by Cotto, who was behind midway through the fight.

Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, wanted to see the fight and somehow made an early assessment on how they’d stand against the bigger Cotto if indeed they land a fight in October. In case both fighters ask for a little more time, the fight can be pushed to November.

“He has a lot of options. I would like for him to fight Manny Pacquiao. That would be a tremendous fight and I hope we can get it done for November,” said Arum.

“He (Cotto) and Pacquiao is a dead-even fight,” Arum was also quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Cotto, who has never fought lower than 145 lb in his last eight fights, losing only once to Antonio Margarito, showed very little head and body movement, and despite his edge in size may have great difficulty coping with Pacquiao’s amazing speed.

After the fight, however, Cotto refused to call out Pacquiao’s name, saying all he wants for now is to take a vacation. But he had previously announced that he can’t go lower than 145 lb.

Pacquiao said he’s ready to fight anybody, and that includes Cotto, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez or Edwin Valero. If it’s anyone among the first three, Roach said a catch weight of under 147 lb is what they’d ask for.

Cotto, 28 and 5-foot-7, and Pacquiao, 30 and a shade lower in height, are both under Top Rank.

Mosley, who’s under Golden Boy, is practically begging for the fight with Pacquiao, saying he’s willing to stake his WBA welterweight crown, fight at a catch weight lower than 147 lb and take a 40 percent share of the purse. However, there’s no movement yet regarding a Mosley-Pacquiao showdown.

“This was a great fight, and under ordinary circumstances Clottey deserves a rematch. But we have economics. It’s just not going to happen next,” said Arum after Clottey said he felt he won the fight and therefore deserves an immediate rematch.

“Floyd has a fight coming up with Marquez. Then he’ll probably want to fight (Ivan) Calderon. Floyd just doesn’t fight big guys. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t fight big guys,” said the ageless promoter who had a bitter falling out with Mayweather Jr. some years back.

Arum also called the undefeated ex-pound-for-pound champion “delusional” after he declared that he’d fight Pacquiao only if he gets the lion’s share of the purse, like 60/40.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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