Among boxing aficionados, the title duel for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) light-welterweight crown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas May 2 has, to say the least, been eagerly anticipated. HBO is calling the Ricky “Hitman” Hatton versus Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao bout the first “mega-fight” of 2009, as British brawler Hatton faces Filipino Pacquiao.

This fight matches boxing’s unofficial pound-for-pound champion – Pacquiao – against one of the world’s most popular brawlers. With Pacman’s following in Asia and Hitman’s support in Europe, there’s tremendous global appeal.

Each fighter, both 30 years old, is guaranteed a base salary of about $12 million for the high-profile bout.

Considering championship boxing’s critics – too many sanctioning bodies, too many crowns, not enough marquis names – and an economy that’s clearly less than robust, how have ticket sales fared in the secondary market for this fight?

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Joellen Ferrer, corporate communications manager for StubHub, said, “Looking into our sales numbers, the excitement for this huge fight hasn’t yet peaked, but I expect the interest will pick up as we get closer to the fight.”

StubHub has tickets ranging from $401 to $487 for some nosebleeds to $9,500 near the watch-out-for-the-spraying-blood ropes. RazorGator lists similar prices, $414 to $5,871, while TicketsNow shows tickets from $374 to $9,095. The Garden Arena seats more than 17,000.

Tickets on TicketNetwork, parent company of TicketNews, start at $359 and run up to $8,012.

Ferrer said that “[Last] December’s Oscar De La Hoya-Pacquiao bout averaged $1,620 and is currently our second-highest grossing boxing match in company history, trailing only Floyd Mayweather, Jr.-De La Hoya in 2007.” She added that this past November’s Hatton-Malignaggi bout (Hatton won) averaged $771.

“So far, sales for the May 2 fight fall in between these two fights. The demand naturally isn’t as high as last year’s De La Hoya-Pacquiao ‘Dream Match,’ but it is certainly a larger draw saleswise than Hatton-[Paulie] Malignaggi,” Ferrer said.

Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) is the reigning WBC lightweight champion and is aiming for a fifth weight crown against Hatton, who holds the IBO junior welterweight belt. Pacman is moving back down one weight class to face Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs), the famously hard-living British star, winner of his most recent fight November 22 against Malignaggi. Hatton suffered his only pro loss in December 2007, beaten by Floyd Mayweather, Jr., as a welterweight.

Mayweather, Jr., who since retired, has intimated that he’s considering coming back to fight the winner of the Pacquiao-Hatton bout.

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“That would be a huge fight regardless and would certainly attract a widespread fanbase in the boxing community,” Ferrer said. “I would expect secondary ticket sales to be very strong and competitive for this potential fight.”