Manny Pacquiao: ‘I Want An MMA Fighter Next’, Sets Up Conor McGregor Showdown
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has said he wants to "experience fighting a mixed martial artist" in his next fight, opening the door to a lucrative showdown with Conor McGregor.
The Irish UFC star comes back to the Octagon for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on 24 January. But McGregor insists that he's open to a return to boxing, if he can fight for a world-title belt.
Filipino megastar Pacquiao, now 42, is a 147lb world champion after beating previously undefeated Keith Thurman in 2019. So a bout between these two world-famous fighters would generate huge money and interest.
Now Pacquiao has given the strongest indication yet that McGregor is his next fight in 2021. Asked about taking on American welterweights Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford, the Pac Man told Filipino outlet Business Mirror:
"They're my options, but right now I want to experience fighting an MMA [mixed martial artist]," referring to McGregor. "I will also donate a big portion of my income to Filipino Covid-19 victims."
On Spence, Pacquiao - now a senator in the Philippines - replied: "He is too slow. Spence is slower than Thurman, but it's going to be a good fight [between us]."
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However it's not the next fight, as Pacquiao clearly states he wants to take on a mixed martial artist. And we can all assume he doesn't mean Brock Lesnar.
Manager Audie Attar, who's represented both men, is confident they will be in the ring with each other this year. "I definitely believe it's inevitable for 2021," he told Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport. "Both fighters want it, that's the key."
McGregor is officially 0-1 in pro boxing, having lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2017. However he gave a solid account of himself early on and lasted until the 10th round against one of boxing's all-time greats.
Mayweather-McGregor was also a gigantic pay-per-view success, with both men reportedly earning over $100 million.
McGregor-McGregor wouldn't be expected to top those numbers. But it would be a far greater money-spinning fight than any UFC opponent (for Conor) or any boxing rival (for Manny).
Will we see Pacquiao vs McGregor take place in a boxing ring later this year? Let us know in the comments.
Image credit: PA Images/Instagram
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