LOS AGELES (AFP) — Manny Pacquiao is mulling a possible fight with Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor as he plots his return to the ring, representatives of the Filipino boxing icon told AFP on Friday.
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 World Boxing Association (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.”
In a statement, Pacquiao’s chief of staff Jake Joson confirmed the veracity of the report.
He said the eight-division world champion would be fighting the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star to generate revenue that would help over the country’s fight against novel coronavirus.
Joson said negotiations had been going on since last year, but was put on hold when the deadly pandemic broke out in March when the entire country was placed under community quarantine.
And now that McGregor had already made the announcement, they are confirming that the fight is in the pipeline and might push through in the Middle East 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,” Joson said in a statement.
“Regarding the news coming from McGregor himself, we don’t deny it. In fact, our lawyers are finalizing all the confidential details, but both boxers are getting ready for one epic last boxing fight.”
“According to Paradigm Sports Management head Audie Attar, the fight may happen in the Middle East next year.”
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.”