There goes the projected Manny Pacquiao-Conor McGregor fight.
The Irishman went down in defeat to American Dustin Poirier in UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, January 24, quashing negotiations for McGregor to cross over and tangle with the eight-division boxing world champion this year.
Paradigm Sports president Audie Attar was confident of staging the bout, but McGregor’s shock second-round technical knockout loss to Poirier, his first-round victim in 2014, rendered it no longer financially viable.
With McGregor out of the Pacquiao chase, Errol Spence Jr took over the pole position in the race toward a megabuck clash with the Filipino ring icon.
Both Pacquiao, the World Boxing Association welterweight champion, and Spence, the unbeaten International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council titlist, are aligned with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), so a unification can readily be arranged.
Pacquiao ranked Spence second on his priority fight list after McGregor, who also stands to lose his bid for a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, the No. 1 pound-for-pound UFC fighter who beat him by submission in the fourth round in October 2018.
In their last fights, Pacquiao handed Keith Thurman his first defeat via split decision in June 2019, while Spence beat Danny Garcia by a clear unanimous decision last December.
Spence is open to battling Pacquiao or having a rematch with Shawn Porter, another PBC fighter who he beat by split decision in September 2019.
Having watched Spence dominate Garcia, Pacquiao felt he can beat the American with his speed.
As for McGregor, who got knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr in the 10th round in August 2017, he was clearly not in Pacquiao’s league.
If Poirier can overwhelm McGregor with punches, imagine what Pacquiao can do to him in a boxing match.
Rather than dwell on the obvious, Pacquiao tweeted after the bout: “Beautiful thing about the fight game, anything can happen!” – Rappler.com