Miguel Cotto is next on Manny Pacquiao's hit list for what's likely to be the biggest fight of the fall.
Pacquiao and Cotto will meet Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Monday after finalizing the match between his company's two most prominent boxers. The 145-pound bout will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.
"There's no messing about with either of these guys, and that's what's so exciting," Arum told The Associated Press. "That's why it's an unbelievable fight, with two guys who really love to fight and don't dance around."
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) has won titles in six weight divisions from 112 to 140 pounds, cementing the Filipino national hero's status as the sport's pound-for-pound champion. Pacquiao pummeled Oscar De La Hoya into retirement last December in his first welterweight fight, and he dramatically stopped 140-pound champion Ricky Hatton in the second round in May for his 10th consecutive victory.
Pacquiao also attended Cotto's brutal split-decision victory over Joshua Clottey in New York last June, building anticipation for their meeting. Both fighters were eager to face each other, making the negotiations relatively simple after Pacquiao agreed to the 145-pound weight limit insisted upon by Cotto's physical trainer.
"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."
Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) rebounded from his only loss to Antonio Margarito last summer by stopping Michael Jennings to claim the WBO welterweight title in February. Cotto, Puerto Rico's most popular fighter, has fought in Las Vegas just once since December 2004, preferring to appear before his biggest fans in New York or Atlantic City.
Cotto's 11th-round stoppage loss to Margarito was his only previous main-event fight in Las Vegas, 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.
Tickets for Pacquiao-Cotto will go on sale in August.