By Mark Elezaj
Former UFC champion Conor McGregor tweeted that his next fight will be against boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao “in the Middle East.”
ESPN reported that McGregor is in “serious talks” to fight Pacquiao, citing his manager, Audie Attar, who represents both fighters.
Attar told ESPN that the fight was not yet a done deal, but the Middle East was one of the few locations that were being considered to host the match, which would take place in either late December or early January.
Attar also stated that McGregor is planning to return to the UFC in 2021 following his fight with Pacquiao.
After his tweet Friday about facing Pacquiao, McGregor said in a second tweet that “It will be a true honor to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era.”
McGregor and Pacquiao are both managed by Paradigm Sports Management, one of the biggest agencies in combat sports, which will seemingly make this fight much easier to put together.
The issue, however, is that McGregor is under contract with the UFC, and Dana White doesn’t seem to know much about a potential Pacquiao boxing match, which is not a great sign.
As far as White is concerned, McGregor is retired, as per the announcement the Irishman made on Twitter in June.
“I have no idea,” White said at the UFC 253 post-fight press conference. “Listen, you guys have been asking me about Conor McGregor forever. Did you see Conor McGregor’s tweet? The retirement tweet? I’m retired, birthday cake, retired.”
McGregor then responded to White’s comment on social media. “You have been involved in Manny talks – the legal letters are there.”
Pacquiao’s aide, Jayke Joson, released a statement saying that the fight will take place, with part of the fighter’s earnings going to COVID-19 relief in the Philippines.
“For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year,” Joson said, per ESPN Ringside.
“The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic.”
A fight against Pacquiao would be McGregor’s second professional boxing bout.
In 2017, McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather by TKO in the 10th round in a fight that generated over $600 million in total revenue.
Pacquiao, the current WBA champion most recently competed in July 2019, defeating Keith Thurman via 12-round split decision to win the WBA Welterweight Super Championship.
The fight may not be officially signed yet, but McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh thinks both parties are close to an agreement.
He recently told Boxing Productions TV: “I believe both boxers have agreed fundamentally, behind the scenes there are a lot of terms and conditions and legal terms but I believe it will happen.
“I think it might be early next year but the wheels are in the motion and it looks like I’ll be coaching boxing again.”
McGregor plans to stick to the rules of boxing when he faces Pacquiao.
“I will see how the build-up goes and wait to hear what bitter old Freddie Roach has to say and then make a decision,” McGregor said.
“Boxing it is for now and I’m up for this! I hope no bottling takes place here. I’m already agreeing to these limited rules and holding back my full array of weapons. Let’s get it going guys.”
~The Fighting Voice~