De La Hoya-Pacquiao talks to intensify next week

Updated: August 1, 2008, 6:11 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Top Rank's Bob Arum will meet in Los Angeles on Wednesday to try to hammer out an agreement for Oscar De La Hoya to meet pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas.

"I am going to meet with him and if we can work out a deal that is acceptable to Bob, Manny and to us, then we will get the fight done," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "Bob and me have a pretty good track record of making big fights. I will sit down with Bob on Wednesday and I think we will know in a half-hour if we have a deal or not."

De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs), boxing's most popular attraction, says that his Dec. 6 HBO PPV match will be the last bout of his career. With Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired, Felix Trinidad unable to get down low enough in weight and Miguel Cotto being stopped by Antonio Margarito last week, Pacquiao is De La Hoya's most likely opponent.

If the fight happens, Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs), who moved up to lightweight and won a title in his fifth division June 28 when he dominated David Diaz en route to a ninth-round knockout, would move up in weight again to welterweight.

The specific maximum weight for the fight is one of the issues Schaefer and Arum need to work out, although Arum and Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, have both indicated the 147-pound maximum welterweight limit would be acceptable to them.

"There are some issues we need to talk about," Schaefer said. "There are some deal points which need to be discussed, such as the split of the revenues, the weight. I think the gloves, maybe."

Schaefer pointed out that even though De La Hoya is the naturally bigger fighter, the size difference wouldn't be as dramatic as some think.

"When Manny went on HBO's unofficial scale before he fought Diaz, I think he was 147 pounds," Schaefer said. "Oscar never gains much weight from the weigh-in to the fight."

Arum said he met with Pacquiao in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening so they could get on the same page about their expectations for the deal.

"Manny let me know what he wanted and we explored his participation in the fight with De La Hoya," Arum told ESPN.com. "Now, on Wednesday, I'll sit down with Richard and see if we can hammer out a deal."

De La Hoya once signed Pacquiao to Golden Boy Promotions not knowing he had already signed with Top Rank. The situation resulted in a nasty lawsuit between companies that already had a frosty relationship. But since settling the lawsuit last summer, a deal in which Top Rank became Pacquiao's promoter with Golden Boy retaining a small percentage of his contract, the companies have made several significant fights together.

De La Hoya-Pacquiao would be the biggest. It would also reunite Arum with De La Hoya, whom he promoted for most of his career, for his final bout.

Schaefer said De La Hoya wants to fight Pacquiao, in part because of some negative comments Roach, De La Hoya's former trainer, made about him to ESPN.com a couple of weeks ago.

Roach said he wanted Pacquiao to fight De La Hoya because he believed De La Hoya, at 35, was no longer able to "pull the trigger."

"Oscar really wants to do the fight. You know Oscar," Schaefer said. "He honestly feels that Freddie and Pacquiao have been disrespectful. It's [expletive] for Freddie to say that Oscar can't pull the trigger anymore. Oscar will show them how he can pull the trigger. Pacquiao is being Freddie Roach's puppet and Oscar wants to teach a lesson to them.

"Manny is the best fighter in the world, pound for pound, but Manny will see how Oscar pulls the trigger in the ring and Freddie can sit in the corner and watch Oscar hit him.

"When Oscar read Freddie's comments, he was like, 'What the [expletive] is that?' He feels challenged now. (Golden Boy matchmaker and De La Hoya's close friend) Eric (Gomez) told him it's not an easy fight because Pacquiao is so strong and fast and so relentless. What he's done to Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, David Diaz -- Manny doesn't just beat them, he destroys them. The only one who has Pacquiao's number a little bit is Juan Manuel Marquez. Manny and Bob know that, which is why the third fight isn't happening. But a fight with Oscar can happen. Oscar gave me clear instructions to make the fight with Pacquiao, not to kill the fight."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.