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Manny Pacquiao is mulling a possible fight with Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor as he plots his return to the ring, representatives for the Filipino boxing icon told AFP on Friday, September 25 (Saturday, September 26, Philippine time).
Sean Gibbons, president of Manny Pacquiao Promotions, told AFP in an email a fight between the eight-division world champion and McGregor would be a “tremendous global event.”
Pacquiao, 41, has not fought since claiming the WBA welterweight crown with a stunning victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas in July last year.
A bout against McGregor, who fought welterweight king Floyd Mayweather in a money-spinning 2017 fight, would guarantee Pacquiao another lucrative payday.
Pacquiao has successfully combined a political career in the Philippines, where he is an elected senator, while continuing to box at the highest level.
Gibbons said that the two camps were a “long way” from agreeing a fight, but confirmed “it is (definitely) one of the fights being considered for the Senator’s return in 2020.”
“The idea has been brought up on a few occasions for Senator Pacquiao and Conor McGregor to fight,” Gibbons said, adding that McGregor had shown in his fight with Mayweather he was capable of challenging “the best boxers in the world.”
Earlier Friday, McGregor, who has a long history of making outlandish claims on social media, had said on Twitter he was “boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East.”
“It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era,” he added. (READ: Pacquiao next? McGregor teases with Tagalog tweet)
In a report on ESPN, meanwhile, McGregor’s manager Audie Attar said serious talks about a Pacquiao fight were under way, with a possible December or January date in the Middle East under consideration.
Pacquiao’s camp, though, said they’re looking at a ring return next year.
“For the sake of all the Filipino COVID-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year. The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic,” a statement from the Office of Senator Manny Pacquiao said.
“But our beloved Senator doesn’t want to talk about boxing since we are in the middle of the pandemic and this is not the right time for it. His main focus right now is to help here and there, providing relief, shelter, money and food, among other necessities.”