One Weighty Issue Aside, Pacquiao-Cotto Appears To Be Full Steam Ahead

MCM TraynorCorrespondent IJune 23, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MAY 02:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates with promoter Bob Arum after defeating Ricky Hatton of England in the second round of their junior welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 2, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A fight between pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and WBO Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto has come one step closer to reality, if reports by Primera Hora are to be believed.

The Puerto Rican newspaper has quoted Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, as saying that he would agree to allow his fighter to meet Cotto at 145 pounds. Until very recently, Roach insisted that Cotto would have to drop to 143 pounds, or drop the idea of fighting Pacquiao entirely.

"Arum called me and I told him I don't have a problem with the fight being at 145 pounds," Roach is reported to have said. "In fact, I don't care if Cotto wants to weigh 200 pounds. I trust my fighter, so I care very little about the weight issues."

Cotto's nutritionist, Phil Landman, made it clear to Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, that his fighter could not drop below 144-145 pounds in a "safe" manner. 

Cotto, regarded as a large welterweight, has not fought below the 147 welterweight limit since 2006.

Roach, who now appears to have backed down from his 143 catch weight demand, believes there are more important details still to be hammered out in the negotiations.

"Obviously we want to see Manny get paid more than his last fight," he said. "There's no reason to take a step back on the money, so we still have to discuss those details."

It is believed Pacquiao netted over $12 million in his last fight, a two-round demolition of former Junior Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton in May.

It is difficult to see a Pacquiao-Cotto bout generating a greater revenue than Pacquiao-Hatton, which is believed to have made about to 850,00 PPV buys in the U.S. alone, but Team Pacquiao appear to be trying to make up the numbers by demanding a bigger split.

On Monday night, Pacquiao's lawyer, Franklin Gacal, told journalists that they are entering negotiations with a view to a 65-35 split in favor of their fighter.

“We’ll not accept the fight if it is not going to be a 65-35 split in our favor," Gacal told GMA News. “We can go no lower than that.”

In a sign that Cotto's team will accept the demand, Bob Arum told radio presenter Dennis Principe of DZSR's Sports Chat that one of the reasons Cotto has been favored over prospective opponent Shane Mosley, who publicly agreed to a 40-60 split, is that he "has a smaller split."

Arum met with Team Cotto last week to draw up terms, followed by a meeting with Pacquiao's business adviser Mike Koncz over the weekend.

It is believed Koncz will present Pacquiao with a draft of the contract in the coming week.

"We're pretty well there," Arum told USA Today this morning. "I'll get it done next week. That's my goal."