Two of boxing’s biggest stars will meet in the ring in what could be the year’s biggest pay-per-view event. Five-division world champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao and IBO World Junior Welterweight champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton will rumble for Hatton’s World Junior Welterweight Championships Saturday, May 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. These two boxing artists will have a 20 x 20 foot canvas. Tickets priced at $1000, $750, $500, $300 and $150, not including applicable service charges, go on sale Friday, Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“When Manny Pacquiao goes into the ring he fights for his country, the Philippines, and millions of Filipinos worldwide,” said Top Rank CEO and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “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.”
“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,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “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.”
“MGM Grand is thrilled to be hosting what we anticipate will be one of the biggest fights of 2009,” said Richard Sturm, president of Sports and Entertainment for MGM MIRAGE. “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) secured his claim as the 2008 Fighter of the Year, a year reminiscent of what Hall of Fame fighter Henry Armstrong did in 1937-1938, winning three fights in three different weight divisions, two of which were world titles. Armstrong is the only man to hold three world championships simultaneously, capturing world titles at featherweight, welterweight and lightweight (in that order) during a nine-month span between November 1937 and August 1938. Pacquiao, officially proclaimed a National Treasure by the Philippines, captured the WBC World Super Featherweight title last March by defeating Juan Manuel Marquez and the WBC World Lightweight title in June by knocking out defending champion David Diaz. He completed his personal trifecta by stopping Oscar de la Hoya in a welterweight battle on December 6. Pacquiao’s last two victories were in his debut fight in each weight division with the latter fight being two full divisions above his previous fight. Pacquiao, 30, has won 24 of his last 25 bouts, blitzing through boxing’s best fighters since 2003 including Erik Morales (TKO 10, KO 3,), Marco Antonio Barrera (TKO 11, W 12), Marquez (D 12, W 12,), Diaz (TKO 9) and De La Hoya (KO 8).
“I always like new challenges which is the reason I am anxious to fight Ricky Hatton. 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 and for the last 12 years he has been thrilling fight fans around the world with his aggressive style in the ring and down to earth attitude outside of the ring. Owner of 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 against Floyd Mayweather. However, the 30-year-old 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 for “The Hitman”.
“I’m really excited to get back in the ring in Vegas after beating Malignaggi in November,” said Hatton. “I am confident that I am the fighter to take down the pound-for-pound champion and I believe I will be victorious on May 2.”