Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is being linked to UFC superstar Conor McGregor anew after the latter stirred speculation in a social media post.
McGregor recently said on Twitter that he is accepting a showdown with Pacquiao. The social media post immediately went viral, generating rumors that there is an ongoing negotiation between the two camps. Talks about a possible showdown between Pacquiao and McGregor have been floating around even before the coronavirus pandemic.
The MMA superstar, who said that he won’t say no to another boxing appearance, even told Ariel Helwani of ESPN earlier this year that he was close to signing a fight with Pacquiao. “Manny, we were actually close to signing a fight with Manny. There have been talks about a Manny fight as well. There was an offer made on that. Just not yet,” said McGregor.
However, Pacquiao immediately dismissed the rumors. The Filipino boxing icon told The Manila Times that there is no agreement or even a close negotiation between him and McGregor. He said that he is not even thinking of fighting again, as he is focused on helping his countrymen deal with the current pandemic.
Dana White is not paying attention to Manny Pacquiao v Conor McGregor talks
UFC president Dana White also played down the Manny Pacquiao v Conor McGregor fight talks. McGregor recently announced his retirement from MMA, but UFC still holds the contractual rights of the Irish superstar. Before announcing his retirement, McGregor showed that he still has a lot of gas left in his tank after beating Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in just 40 seconds. There were talks about a possible rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but nothing is set in stone.
MANNY PACQUAIO VS CONOR MCGREGOR
McGregor, who is considered by many as one of the best UFC fighters of all time, is no stranger to boxing. The 32-year-old faced Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match in August 2017. It was his pro boxing debut, but it turned out to be a fight to forget for the mixed martial artists, as he was humiliated by Mayweather, who ran away with a tenth-round knockout win to keep his immaculate record.
Before the fight was stopped, Mayweather was way ahead in the scorecards, taking advantage of McGregor’s inexperience. The Michigan native let McGregor throw a lot of punches in the earlier rounds of the bout, which proved to be an effective fight plan, as the UFC icon became visibly tired later in the fight.
What’s next for Pacquiao?
Pacquiao recently said that he is not yet thinking of fighting again because his country is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The Philippines, where Pacquiao is a Senator, is one of the hardest-hit countries in the world with more than 100,000 confirmed cases as of this week.
But in the event Pacquiao decides to fight again, there is growing speculation that it will be against Terence Crawford. There were talks about a possible showdown in November, but Bob Arum of Top Rank insisted that the Pacquiao v Crawford deal is far from a done deal.
Arum confirmed that he has talked to Crawford about fighting in November, but his opponent is not set in stone. Crawford, who holds a perfect 36-0 record with 27 knockout wins, has declared numerous times before that he is very open to the idea of facing the former eight-division world champion.
“We told Terence that he’s scheduled to fight in November,” Arum told BoxingScene. “If it can’t be Pacquiao for various reasons, then we’ll match him with somebody else. But we told Terence to prepare for mid-November, whether it’s the 14th or the 21st.”
Arum added that he is very interested in putting the reigning WBO Welterweight champion against Pacquiao, who is still considered as one of the biggest draws in boxing today.
“The Pacquiao fight, obviously we’d like to do it,” Arum said… “Whether we can do it, how we can do it, that’s what we’re figuring out now. Obviously, if it can happen it’ll happen, and if it can’t happen, it won’t happen. But nothing is concrete on that. We hope we can do it. We’re trying, but this is not a usual situation.”
Arum added that arranging the Pacquiao v Crawford fight would be a challenge because of the current pandemic. The veteran boxing promoter hinted that if the two sides agree to a fight, it will likely be staged outside the United States to lessen the site fee because there might be no fans allowed in the venue because of the current Covid-19 outbreak worldwide.
Pacquiao, a former pound-for-pound king, proved last year that he is far from being ‘washed up’ with two impressive wins against younger opponents. He scored an impressive unanimous decision win against Adrien Broner in January last year, successfully defending his WBA Welterweight title.
Following his win against Broner, the 41-year-old opted to Keith Thurman, where fans and experts thought that Thurman would pose a huge challenge to Pacquiao, but the Pacquiao silenced his doubters right from the get-go, flooring Thurman in the opening round of the match.
Thurman had his moments in the bout, but it was not enough, absorbing a split decision loss. The split decision verdict was actually questioned because experts believe that it should have been a unanimous decision victory for the Filipino champion, who currently owns 62-7-2 record with 39 knockouts.
Crawford, on the other hand, was also on top of his game last year. In April, the Nebraska native dominated British boxing star Amir Khan in their WBO Welterweight bout. Khan went down in the opening round and never recovered until the fight was stopped in the sixth round.
The 32-year-old champion ended the year on a high note, beating challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas to keep his title. Crawford sent Kavaliauskas down to the canvass once in the seventh round and twice in the ninth round, prompting referee Ricky Gonzales to stop the bout. Crawford was ahead in all scorecards – 79-72, 79-72, 78-73 — before the fight came to a halt.