Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the junior welterweight title fight between the recognized WBC champion Manny Pacquiao and IBO titlist Ricky Hatton. The on-again, off-again bout was finalized when Pacquiao agreed to a 52-48 percent split of the gate receipts.
Pacquiao opened as a -215 favorite over Hatton as the Las Vegas Hilton. The two fighters boast a combined record of 93-4-2 (68 KOs), a 94 percent winning percentage and a victory-by-knockout percentage of 73. Tickets won’t come cheap, priced at $1,000, $750, $500, $300 and $150. Tickets are limited to 10 per person at the $1,000, $750, $500 or $300 price levels and a total of two tickets at $150.
Bob Arum, chairman of Top Rank, said, "When Manny Pacquiao goes into the ring he fights for his country, the Philippines, and tens of thousands of Filipinos worldwide. He is a tremendous athlete and unlike any other champion we have ever promoted. When Manny walks to the ring he carries the weight of his country on his shoulders and he fights with all of his heart, every second of every round."
Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions, said, "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. This fight has all the makings of a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate and I think Hatton will de-throne Pacquiao and become boxing’s pound-for-pound king."
Pacquiao comes off a stunning, one-sided knockout victory over de la Hoya. Hatton’s only loss came to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who is rumored to be entertaining thoughts of coming out of retirement perhaps top fight the winner of this bout.
Richard Sturm, MGM MIRAGE president of Sports and Entertainment, stated, "MGM Grand is thrilled to be hosting what we anticipate will be one of the biggest fights of 2009. As we continue our tradition of hosting the top names in sports and entertainment, this spectacular boxing match will not only be a battle between two great champions but will offer an electric and international atmosphere for the fans."
Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) earned the title of 2008 Fighter of the Year after winning three fights in three weight divisions, two of which were world titles. He captured the WBC World Super Featherweight title last March by defeating Juan Manuel Marquez, won the WBC World Lightweight title in June by knocking out defending champion David Diaz and then stopped de la Hoya last Dec. 6
At age 30, Pacquiao has won 24 of his last 25 bouts since 2003. "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 (de la Hoya). There are concerns because Hatton is a very strong puncher so I must deal with that in the ring. I promise I will be completely prepared and will do my best for all of my fans in the Philippines."
The storied career of Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), an international superstar hailing from Manchester, England, began in 1997. He owns victories over world champions Kostya Tszyu, Vince Phillips, Paulie Malignaggi, Luis Collazo, Jose Luis Castillo, Juan Urango and Carlos Maussa, Hatton is a two-division world champion. He fell short of the pound-for-pound best fighter title and world welterweight championships in his 2007 super-fight loss to Mayweather.
Hatton, also 30, bounced back impressively at his natural weight of 140 pounds last May when he scored a near shutout 12-round unanimous decision over Juan Lazcano. His most recent fight was a scintillating shutout performance against world champion Malignaggi last November, ending with an 11th round TKO. Hatton was honored as the 2005 Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
"I’m really excited to get back in the ring in Vegas after beating Malignaggi in November," Hatton said. "I am confident that I am the fighter who will take down the pound-for-pound champion and I believe I will be victorious on May 2."