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Pacquiao, Hatton finalise May 2 fight

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Manny Pacquiao Ricky Hatton Sydney Morning Herald
January 29, 2009 - 11:39AM

Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton have formally agreed to fight for Hatton's IBO junior welterweight belt on May 2, ending several weeks of negotiating and posturing.

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs), who is generally considered the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, will go after Hatton's title at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao nearly scuttled the bout several times in recent weeks while demanding a bigger share of the lucrative purse, even forcing the cancellation of a media tour planned for this week.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum finally persuaded Pacquiao to sign the necessary contracts after reaching a reworked deal with Hatton's representatives this week.

The Philippines' most famous man is at the top of his talents after destroying Oscar De La Hoya in eight rounds on December 6.

Pacquiao moved up to welterweight for that bout having fought just once above 59 kilograms in his career before, and the former five-division champion will move back down to yet another weight class for his next high-profile pay-per-view fight.

"I always like new challenges, which is the reason I am anxious to fight Ricky Hatton," Pacquiao said.

"My trainer, Freddie Roach, will put together a new game plan which will be much different than the one we used against Oscar. There are concerns because Hatton is a very strong puncher, so I must deal with that in the ring."

Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) is one of Britain's most popular athletes, but the Manchester-born brawler lost his only previous fight against a boxer of Pacquiao's stature when Floyd Mayweather Jr. stopped him in December 2007.

Hatton beat Paulie Malignaggi last autumn in his most recent bout.

Hatton has a promotional deal with De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.

"We are very excited that this fight has been made, as it is the fight fans wanted and the one I look forward to seeing myself," De La Hoya said.

"This fight has all the makings of a Fight of the Year candidate and I think Hatton will dethrone Pacquiao and become boxing's pound-for-pound king."

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