- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Top Rank's Bob Arum met Wednesday and formally opened negotiations for a Dec. 6 megafight between Oscar De La Hoya, boxing's biggest star, and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
Schaefer hosted Arum for more than two hours at the Golden Boy offices in Los Angeles to talk over a host of issues related to a fight that would take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and certainly be the year's biggest fight if it is made.
"We met and there are some issues, but it was a good meeting," Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday night. "I think what it will take is for Manny to give and for Oscar to give to get a deal done. That's pretty much what it is. But the fact that we had a two hour-plus meeting is obviously a good sign. If it had been a five-minute meeting it would indicate the gaps are too big.
"What Bob needs to do is talk to Manny and I need to talk to Oscar. I'm going to talk to Oscar face to face when he comes to Los Angeles next week. But this was a good first step. We had a very good, a very cordial meeting. We talked about a lot of things," Schaefer said.
Arum told ESPN.com, "We had a nice meeting, a very productive meeting. Richard is going to talk further with Oscar next week. Manny is going to Beijing for [some of] the Olympics and I will talk to him soon. Richard and I can make a deal, but we are not the guys doing the fighting. It's going to be up to the fighters. There will have to be movement on both sides. Hopefully, there will be movement. We want to make a deal, Richard and I. Whether it can be made or not, I don't know. It will take give and take on both sides, like in any negotiation."
Although there are issues on the table such as the precise weight limit and brand of gloves the fighters would wear, Schaefer and Arum agreed those would be easily solved. The crux of the negotiation will come down to the percentage split of the revenue.
"I can say without any question none of that will be a problem, weight or gloves," Arum said. "We are working essentially on the split."
"If both guys are willing to give, Bob and I have laid the foundation and the groundwork under which a deal can be done," Schaefer said.
De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KOs), who easily outpointed Steve Forbes on May 3 but took a lot of flush punches from the smaller man, weighed 150 pounds. Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach want him to come down to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds.
Pacquiao (47-3-2, 35 KOs), who began his career at 106 pounds, has steadily moved up through the weight classes through the years, including winning a championship in his fifth division June 28 when he wiped out David Diaz in nine brutally one-sided rounds to win a lightweight belt and cement his place as the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the sport.
Arum said that the possibility of welterweight champion Antonio Margarito facing De La Hoya also came up in the meeting as an alternative plan. Margarito ruined Miguel Cotto's chance to face De La Hoya when he stopped him July 26. Now, Margarito wants his shot at De La Hoya.
"Antonio is still out there and hasn't been totally rejected by the De La Hoya people," Arum said. "It came up, but Richard has to sit with Oscar and see what he wants to do."
Schaefer was not as upbeat about a fight with Margarito.
"I think Margarito has some other things planned," he said. "I think he should go fight [a rematch with] Paul Williams."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
8hPat McManamon and Jeremy Fowler