Pacquiao officially signs contract of May 2 fight vs Hatton

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2009 07:47 AM | Updated as of Jan 24 2009 03:50 PM

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao officially signed the contract Friday night for his most-anticipated battle against England's most famous boxer, Ricky Hatton.

Pacquiao confirmed the news to ABS-CBN correspondent Dyan Castillejo at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where he fetched his wife, Jinky, and fourth child, Baby Queenie, on Saturday morning.

Castillejo said that according to Pacquiao, the contract has been passed on to Bob Arum of Top Rank. The contract was expected to reach England on Saturday.

Castillejo also reported over radio dzMM that the latest agreement was to hold the action packed face-off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.

She said Pacquiao will train for eight weeks for the big fight starting March. Before the rigorous training in the United States, she said Pacquiao and Hatton will hold separate press conferences in February in England and US.

According to Castillejo, Pacquiao will train harder for the equally aggressive Hatton. She said Pacquiao told her that he would have to watch out for Hatton's deadly left hook.

Pacquiao will be entering a new territory when he faces Hatton, who is considered the king of the 140-lbs division. He will have to go down to Hatton's turf from 147 lbs.

Pacquiao was the first Filipino to win in three divisions in a single year. He defeated Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 lbs and then David Diaz at 135 lbs.

The Filipino boxer's last victory, and according to him the sweetest in his career, was the historic fight against boxing legend Oscar dela Hoya. He beat the Golden Boy at 147 lbs.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times' online edition reported that Arum has confirmed that he has in his possession the Pacquiao-signed contract.

The report said Arum had confirmed Pacquiao agreed to a 52-48 split in his favor and a $12 million guaranteed purse.

Three bottles of beer

A PhilBoxing.com report said Friday that Pacquiao was convinced by long-time buddy Rex Salud to sign the contract after a dare over three bottles of beer.

The report said that according to Salud, Pacquiao told him he will agree to sign the contract only after he downed three bottles of beer.

Salud, who is not a drinker, downed the three bottles of beer because he is one of the millions of Filipino boxing enthusiasts who want to see Pacquiao slug it out with Hatton.

On Wednesday, Pacquiao failed to meet the 6 p.m. deadline set by Hatton's camp. Pacquiao reportedly wanted a bigger guaranteed purse.

Franklin "Jeng" Gacal, Pacquiao's lawyer, said the decision was not about money, but principle. He said Pacquiao wanted a little respect from Hatton's camp in the negotiating table.