A Pacquiao-Cotto duel? Possible — Arum

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE– MANNY Pacquiao has yet to begin training for his May 2 fight against British slugger Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton.

There is, however, already a growing interest over the Filipino’s next opponent should he hurdle the Manchester pride.

No less than Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, Inc., is leaning towards a bout that is expected to be a certified blockbuster hit that will involve the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world against Puerto Rican ring master Miguel Cotto.

For that to happen, Cotto will have to beat Michael Jennings first on Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden in New York for the vacant WBO welterweight crown.

If Pacquiao goes on to do the same against Hatton, probabilities are high that he will end up meeting Cotto before the year ends in what could be another record-breaking payday for the Filipino ring idol.

The talk of the two world-class fighters and stablemates clashing in a welterweight division bout surfaced after Arum drifted far from pitting Cotto against Shane Mosley in a rematch if the Puerto Rican comes out triumphant against Jennings.

“Economically, it may not make the most sense,” said Arum. “There might be other fighters that fit the bill more economically to make the biggest purse for Miguel.

“But if we decide to fight the day before the Puerto Rican parade in Madison Square Garden, Mosley may not be the best alternative.”

Mosley is a boxer that has been mentioned as one of Pacquiao’s next opponent after Hatton. He already lost to Cotto in Nov. 2007, but Cotto suffered a devastating loss to Antonio Margarito, his only setback in his career.

“We don’t know. We’re not making decisions now. We’ll bring out all the relevant facts and circumstances and present everything. And then a decision will be made.”

Arum said that it’s totally up to Pacquiao and Cotto whether they want the fight to happen.

“Well I want you to understand what I’m about to say just so there’s no confusion that all of these fighters make their own decisions. I make recommendations and would I recommend that [Pacquiao] fight Miguel Cotto? Absolutely. Will he go along with my recommendation? I don’t know. Because I haven’t raised it with him,” Arum said.

“I would think that if Miguel now beats Michael Jennings and wins his fight against whoever it is in June, and Manny Pacquiao beats Ricky Hatton, why wouldn’t I try to make a match between two of my best fighters?”

Arum would like to call this the true ‘Dream Fight,’ perhaps bigger than the one where Pacquiao met Oscar De La Hoya that resulted in a TKO win for the Filipino after De La Hoya quit at the end of the eighth round.

If ever the fight against Cotto does happen, Pacquiao could easily earn more than the $12 million purse he will get in his bout against Hatton.