Hatton calls off fight with Pacquiao
After Philippine boxing star Manny Pacquiao fails to meet a deadline for a deal on a May 2 fight in England, Ricky Hatton tells his promoter to seek other opponents.
By Lance Pugmire
12:16 PM PST, January 21, 2009
What would’ve been Manny Pacquiao’s most lucrative fight yet has been called off by his scheduled May 2 opponent Ricky Hatton, whose camp grew tired of waiting for the Philippine star to sign a contract.
Hatton’s camp on Tuesday informed his promoter, Richard Schaefer of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, that Pacquiao had until early today to agree to terms in a signed deal or that Schaefer should begin seeking other opponents for a May 2 fight in England, including De La Hoya.
When that signed contract never materialized by fax at Schaefer’s downtown Los Angeles office, and there was no indication it was coming, Schaefer proclaimed, “The fight is off.”
Schaefer said he has canceled a press tour with the fighters to promote Pacquiao-Hatton in the U.K. next week, and that he feels as burned as he did about two years ago when Pacquiao accepted a briefcase filled with $250,000 in cash from Schaefer and De La Hoya to join Golden Boy Promotions, then recanted and signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotions.
“I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Schaefer said. "What a waste of time, money and effort. Am I surprised he’s changed his mind? No. He did it to me two years ago. We had booked the planes, the hotels, printed the press kits for the press tour. It was all ready to go, a big production.
“Frankly, I’m disgusted at the behavior of Manny Pacquiao. He’s a spoiled young kid who doesn’t know how to behave.”
Pacquiao produced a fighter-of-the-year campaign in 2008, beating Juan Manuel Marquez by decision to win a world super-featherweight title, knocking out David Diaz to claim a world lightweight belt and then hammering De La Hoya in a non-title welterweight bout.
Arum late Tuesday also expressed great frustration at Pacquiao’s hesitance to sign a deal, which would have given him a slightly greater split of a verbal 50-50 split of the purse with some extra promotional profits thrown his way. Arum had boarded a plane to Los Angeles this morning and was not immediately available for comment, a Top Rank spokesman said.
Hatton has told Schaefer to explore possible May 2 foes at Wembley Stadium, including the winner of next month’s lightweight bout between Marquez and Juan Diaz, or De La Hoya, or Floyd Mayweather Jr., who knocked out Hatton in late 2007 and has let it be known he’s ready to end his brief retirement.
De La Hoya is in Southern California this week to watch his fighter Shane Mosley challenge world welterweight champion Antonio Margarito at Staples Center. It appeared he was headed to retirement after his sluggish showing against Pacquiao on Dec. 6, when De La Hoya failed to answer the bell for the ninth round after a thorough beating.
“I’ll talk to Oscar,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know what he’ll do. We’ll sit down and talk about it this week.”