July 24, 2010

LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao will face Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight championship on Nov. 13, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirmed to SI.com. The fight will take place in Las Vegas if Margarito, whose license was suspended last year, can get reinstated. If he can't, Arum plans to hold the fight in Monterrey, Mexico.

The decision for Pacquiao to face Margarito ends any possibility of a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight in 2010.

Yahoo Sports first reported the Pacquiao-Margarito agreement.

Pacquiao last fought in March when he won a lopsided decision over Miguel Cotto. Margarito, who was suspended for one year after officials found a plaster-like substance in his hand wraps before his January 2009 loss to Shane Mosley, returned to the ring in May when he won a lackluster decision over Robert Garcia.

By fighting at 154-pounds, Pacquiao has the opportunity to win a world title in his seventh weight class.

Expectations were high for a Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown after Mayweather won a decisive victory over Mosley last May. However, negotiations took a bizarre twist last week. During a conference call with reporters last Friday, Arum detailed the negotiations that he claimed were conducted between Top Rank and Mayweather's advisor, Al Haymon, with HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg acting as an intermediary. According to Arum, terms of the deal -- which were believed to include a 50-50 split and some form of random drug testing -- were agreed to.

Three days later, another Mayweather advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, issued a statement saying no negotiations with Mayweather had taken place.

Multiple sources confirmed to SI.com that some form of negotiations did take place, all of which were facilitated by Greenburg. Last month, Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, the company that represents Mayweather, reportedly told Univision that they were "very close" to an agreement.

"Them saying there were no negotiations is absolutely preposterous," Arum told SI.com. "All I can say is seven weeks ago Ross came to me, (and) said let's do it this way, this way the fight has a chance to be made. We spent the whole day going over details. He reported to me on meetings that he had and what Haymon was saying. Again. I have never said I talked to Haymon. Ross felt that we could get the deal done in that way. He was very optimistic. Two nights before (the) Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto fight [in June], when Pacquiao was in town, we had dinner. Ross said I think I am getting this thing done. He told it to Manny."

Arum said that while he does not have any documentation detailing an agreement, he told SI.com that Greenburg said he had "pages of memos" in a briefcase detailing the conversations with both sides.

"This kid [Mayweather] is so nuts," said Arum. "His idea of being part of his team is having guys who when he says 'jump,' they say 'how high?' Why didn't they just say we decided not to fight until next year?"

Arum says he plans on finalizing the deal with Pacquiao, who is in the Philippines, sometime next week. Pacquiao's financial advisor, Michael Koncz, is in the U.S. and, according to Arum, is planning to return to the Philippines early next week to finalize the deal.

"Making a deal won't be a problem," said Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Margarito. "We'll get it done."

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