By Nick Giongco
HALL of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has penciled a press tour of key US and UK cities in relation to the blockbuster May 2 clash between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and British Ricky Hatton. “(We are) all on the same page,” Arum told Manila Bulletin and Fightnews on Friday from Las Vegas, noting that only the venue for the scheduled 12-round super-lightweight tiff will be decided this coming week.
Arum said the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which can accommodate 15,000-plus, and the bigger Thomas and Mack Center (19,000 seats) inside the sprawling UNLV campus, are vying for the right to host the megamatch. Arum is meeting with officials of the MGM/Mirage and Wynn Group that also includes Planet Hollywood on Tuesday (Wednesday in the Philippines). A representative from Hatton’s promotional outfit, Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, will likely be present as well. “Everything seems a go…negotiations with Golden Boy is finished,” reported the Bulletin.
“Arum noted that the media tour is already on tap with Pacquiao making a visit to England to promote it in London and Manchester, which is Hatton’s hometown,” the Bulletin said in its story that was ran on Saturday (Friday in the US). “Manny’s coming over to the States on Jan. 23 to watch the (Antonio) Margarito-(Shane) Mosley fight (at Staples Center on Jan. 24) and we will be taking a commercial flight to England on the 26th,” Arum added.
Pacquiao’s trip to England will be extra-special, according to Arum. “Besides, Manny’s naming his baby girl Queen Elizabeth,” said Arum, obviously very amused with the choice of name for Pacquiao’s fourth kid with wife Jinkee. From London, Pacquiao will go back to the Philippines but will be returning to the US in the last week of February for promotional tours scheduled in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
After the tour, Pacquiao will report for training camp at the Wild Card, where chief trainer Freddie Roach is lining up a battery of punchers for sparring.
Meanwhile, Hatton is set to embark on a tour of England and Wales for a series of comedy shows, his agent and adviser Paul Speak revealed. After the tour, Hatton will spend some time with his family on a Caribbean cruise in late-January then start training in February.