- Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Conor McGregor in the boxing ring in his next fight, he told Filipino media.
- Talks between the multi-weight boxing champion and the UFC striker have gone on behind-the-scenes for at least 12 months.
- They now share the same talent manager and agent, Audie Attar, who can likely smooth negotiations.
- Pacquiao said McGregor makes a great opponent because the amount of money the bout would generate can go toward helping the Philippines overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
FIGHT ISLAND â€” Manny Pacquiao says he wants to fight Conor McGregor “right now.”
The former two-weight UFC champion first confirmed there had been talks with the Filipino fighter 12 months ago, ahead of his 40-second victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in Las Vegas.
It was estimated at the time the crossover bout could generate $US250 million.
The likelihood of the two fighting increased substantially when Pacquiao signed a contract with Paradigm SM founder Audie Attar, who is the same talent manager who represents McGregor.
“I definitely believe it’s inevitable [that they fight] for 2021,” Attar said this week, adding that the fight could happen immediately after McGregor competes in a lightweight match against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on January 23.
Pacquiao has not fought since he out-pointed Keith Thurman in Las Vegas 18 months ago.
Speaking to BusinessMirror, a newspaper in the Philippines,Pacquiao said the two opponents he is looking to make a comeback against are the welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence Jr. â€” who Insider regards as the best American boxer in the world today â€” and McGregor.
“Right now I want to experience fighting an MMA [mixed martial artist],” Pacquiao said in the interview.
“I will also donate a big portion of my income to Filipino COVID-19 victims.”
A Senator of the Philippines, Pacquiao previously said he was “not afraid to die” to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Pacquiao donated approximately 600,000 face masks to frontline workers tackling the outbreak, and even teamed up with Alibaba’s billionaire CEO, Jack Ma, to donate 50,000 COVID-19 testing kits.
“You have to lead and let people see that you are with them,” the 42-year-old said. “I grew up poor. I know what they feel.”