Monday, July 20, 2009 | 11:33 a.m.
Miguel Cotto is next up on Manny Pacquiao's hit list.
In the same MGM Grand ring where he dominated Oscar De La Hoya last December and destroyed Ricky Hatton in May, the Filipino pound-for-pound king takes on the Puerto Rican welterweight champ in a 145-pound catch-weight bout set for Nov. 14.
“There’s no messing about with either of these guys, and that’s what’s so exciting,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum on Monday, after finalizing the match between his company’s two most prominent boxers.
“That’s why it’s an unbelievable fight, with two guys who really love to fight and don’t dance around.”
The victory over Hatton gave the 30-year-old Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) a world championship in a record-tying sixth weight division.
The 28-year-old Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs), who is coming off a bloody split decision victory over Joshua Clottey on June 13 at New York's Madison Square Garden, returns to the MGM for just his second fight in Sin City since 2004 — preferring to appear before his biggest fans on the East coast.
Cotto — whose only setback, an 11th-round stoppage to Antonio Margarito, came in his only previous main-event fight in Las Vegas last July at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. But Margarito’s suspension for illegal hand wraps at his next fight against Sugar Shane Mosley put the legitimacy of Margarito’s victory over Cotto into question. Cotto rebounded from his only loss by stopping Michael Jennings to claim the WBO welterweight title in February.
Pacquiao attended Cotto's close victory over Clottey, fueling the speculation that he would fight his fellow company man. Mosley petitioned Pacquiao hard to instead take the fight with him, but after a bit of conflict with Cotto on the weight issue, Pacquiao agreed to the bout that will pay him more than 50-percent of the purse according to ESPN.
“With Manny, you don’t tell him who to fight,” Arum said. “He tells you who he wants to fight. He’s not afraid of anything. There’s a lot of easier guys he could fight, but he doesn’t want that. He wants the best, and that’s Miguel.”
Tickets for the bout to be shown on HBO pay-per-view will go on sale in August, with a three city promotional tour tenatively set for Los Angeles, New York and San Juan in September.