Ricky Hatton will face Manny Pacquiao in one of the most lucrative fights of 2009 after the Filipino fighter finally signed a contract following weeks of uncertainty.
Mancunian Hatton will face pound-for-pound king Pacquiao on May 2, a year and a half after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr at the same MGM Grand venue.
After weeks of protracted negotiations surrounding Pacquiao’s increased financial demands, the fight will now go ahead and a press conference will be held on Thursday to officially announce the contest.
Hatton’s lawyer Gareth Williams confirmed he is in possession of the contract, which the Mancunian will sign as soon as it has been checked.
“We have got the contract, signed by Manny,” Williams said.
He revealed Hatton has yet to sign the contract – purely because of logistics with Williams being in London yesterday – but said: “It won’t be a problem and we’ll announce the fight at a press conference on Thursday.
“All the pressure is off now.”
The deal follows weeks of uncertainty after it emerged Pacquiao wanted to renegotiate financial terms despite having agreed a 50-50 split before Christmas.
Williams said last Thursday that the fight was “dead in the water” for the time being, but admitted the appearance of a signed contract would force them to reconsider.
Yet Pacquiao’s promoters Top Rank declared on Friday the fight was back on after Pacquiao agreed late last week to share the proceeds equally with the Mancunian.
Pacquiao released a statement on Thursday reiterating his desire to fight Hatton and stating his wish to “get it on without the middlemen” before finally signing the contract.
Hatton’s American promoters, Golden Boy, had begun early negotiations with possible alternative opponents Oscar De La Hoya and Mayweather, but the ’Hitman’ has now secured the fight he really wanted after stopping Paulie Malignaggi in November.
Pacquiao, who, like Hatton, is 30 years old, is officially a four-weight world champion having won titles at flyweight, super-bantamweight, super-featherweight and lightweight. But he beat Marco Antonio Barrera at featherweight in 2003 and De La Hoya at welterweight before Christmas in non-title contests which earned him huge respect within the sport.
Hatton’s nominal IBO light-welterweight title, as well as the more meaningful but unofficial Ring Magazine belt, will be on the line against Pacquiao.