Two of boxing’s biggest stars will meet in the ring for what could be the year’s biggest pay-per-view event. Five-division world champion MANNY “Pac Man” PACQUIAO and Ring Magazine and IBO World Junior Welterweight champion RICKY “The Hitman” HATTON, will fight for Hatton’s World Junior Welterweight titles Saturday, May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. These two boxing artists will have a 20’ x 20’ canvas on which to paint the black and blue masterpiece that the world has been waiting to watch. Pacquiao and Hatton boast a combined record of 93-4-2 (68 KOs), a 94% winning percentage and a victory-by-knockout percentage of 73%.
Pacquiao vs. Hatton, a 12-round bout for Hatton’s Ring Magazine and IBO World Junior Welterweight titles, is promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, in association with MP Promotions and Hatton Promotions.
Tickets priced at $1000, $750, $500, $300 and $150, not including applicable service charges, go on sale Friday, Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. Ticket sales are limited to 10 per person at the $1,000, $750, $500 or $300 price levels and a total of two (2) tickets at $150. 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.
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.”
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. It was a year reminiscent to that of Hall of Fame fighter Henry Armstrong, who is the only man to hold three world championships simultaneously having captured world titles at featherweight, welterweight and lightweight (sequentially) during a nine-month span between November 1937 and August 1938.
Pacquiao, officially proclaimed a ‘National Treasure’ by the people of 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 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 two full divisions above his previous fight. Pacquiao, 30 years of age, has won 24 of his last 25 bouts since 2003, blitzing through boxing’s best fighters 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). Pacquiao was named the 2006 Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine.
Pacquiao said, “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 the fighter has been thrilling fight fans around the world with his aggressive style in the ring, and down-to-earth attitude outside. 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.” Hatton was honored as the 2005 Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Hatton, said, “I’m really excited to get back in the ring in Vegas after beating Malignaggi in November. “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.”
For room packages and availability and event ticket information about the MGM Grand, call (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777 or log onto the World Wide Web at www.mgmgrand.com.