A row over money has seemingly scuppered what would have been a highly lucrative clash for both fighters, with Hatton’s camp becoming disillusioned by Pacquiao’s claims and walking away from the negotiating table. While the English light-welterweight champion and his team are now looking at alternative opponents, Pacquiao’s stance appeared to soften slightly yesterday as he called Hatton out and urged him to cut out the “middlemen”.
The fighters had agreed before Christmas to split the purse equally but it emerged earlier this month that the Filipino superstar was demanding 60% for the contest, which was set to take place in Las Vegas on May 2.
Yesterday Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions, negotiating on Hatton’s behalf with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, confirmed that the fight was off.
And the Mancunian’s lawyer, Gareth Williams, said: “It is dead in the water. I’ve heard a lot of press saying the stumbling block was this 60-40 or 50-50 split negotiation but I personally don’t believe that to be the case.
“My understanding is Pacquiao has been guaranteed the money he has asked for by Bob Arum and for reasons known only to himself, he doesn’t want to fight Ricky Hatton.
“I think this 60-40 thing is a smokescreen. There are other reasons why he doesn’t want to fight Ricky Hatton.”
Hatton’s alternative options include a lucrative showdown with faded legend De La Hoya, who nevertheless remains a box office draw, or Mayweather, who retired after inflicting Hatton’s only career defeat in 2007 but may be about to return to the ring.
“Oscar is an option and Floyd Mayweather is an option,” Williams revealed.