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De La Hoya-Pacquiao is on again for Dec. 6 in Las Vegas

August 28, 2008|Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writer

The biggest boxing match in years will, indeed, take place. Oscar De La Hoya has agreed to a Dec. 6 match with rising superstar Manny Pacquiao.

The official announcement, barring last-minute reversals, will be made in a conference call this morning.

The match, the finale of 35-year-old De La Hoya's unprecedented career as the box-office king in a sport that has survived on his back for more than 10 years without a dominant heavyweight, will be held at the MGM Grand Hotel Garden in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view will be available on HBO.

Ten days ago, Richard Schaefer, De La Hoya's partner in the operation of Golden Boy Promotions, and Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank had announced that negotiations for the much-anticipated fight had broken down and it would not take place. Schaefer and De La Hoya wanted a 70-30% split of receipts, which would include a projected 2-million-plus pay-per-view buys. Arum and Pacquiao had balked and the deal was off.

In the interim, as recently as two days ago, stories had appeared that the front-runner to replace Pacquiao on De La Hoya's farewell card was promoter Dan Goossen's Paul Williams, who had a victory over Antonio Margarito. Margarito, who is from Mexico, was the recent surprise winner over Miguel Cotto in a fight that was to set up De La Hoya's next opponent.

But when Margarito won, that took the Puerto Rican Cotto out of the picture and De La Hoya had said all along that he did not want his farewell fight to be against a fellow Mexican. De La Hoya, of Mexican heritage, was raised in East Los Angeles and won an Olympic gold medal for the United States in 1992.

But the Williams talks apparently were mostly wishful thinking, and De La Hoya agreed to drop his percentage of the take in a Pacquiao bout to a two-thirds/one-third arrangement.

They will fight at 147 pounds.

Pacquiao, 29, the most celebrated and recognized athlete in the Philippines, has won titles at five lower weights and is more comfortable around 136-140 pounds. De La Hoya has won multiple titles and is more comfortable around 154.

The largest pay-per-view fight in boxing history was the 2007 match between De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., won by the now-retired Mayweather. That drew 2.4 million buys. De La Hoya previously was involved in the largest non-heavyweight pay-per-view fight when he suffered his first loss, in 1999, against Felix Trinidad.

De La Hoya has a record of 39-5, with 30 knockouts. Pacquiao is 47-3-2, with 35 knockouts.

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bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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