Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

UFC

Manny Pacquiao 'will be fighting' UFC star Conor McGregor in the Middle East

Philippine boxing legend's camp confirm negotiations are underway

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor in the Middle East next year, it was confirmed on Saturday.

"For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year," Pacquiao's special assistant Jayke Joson said, adding negotiations are ongoing.

The fight could be staged in the Middle East after the coronavirus pandemic abates, the aide said, adding Pacquiao would donate a portion of his prize earnings to Filipino Covid-19 victims.

Pacquiao's promoter Sean Gibbons earlier told AFP in Los Angeles that the eight-division world champion was mulling a possible comeback fight with McGregor, though the two camps were a "long way" from agreement.

Earlier Friday, McGregor, 32, 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," McGregor added.

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 faced welterweight king Floyd Mayweather in a money-spinning 2017 fight, would guarantee Pacquiao another lucrative payday as he nears the end of an illustrious boxing career.

"Our lawyers are finalising all the confidential details, but both fighters are getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight," Joson said.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 26, 2020 Irish mixed martial arts artist Conor McGregor arrives for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. 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 September 25, 2020. / AFP / VALERIE MACON
Conor McGregor could fight Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East next year. AFP

Pacquiao has successfully combined a political career in the Philippines, where he is an elected senator, while continuing to box at the highest level.

"His main focus right now is to help here and there, providing relief, shelter, money and food, among other necessities," Joson said.

McGregor's last fight was a win over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in January, which gave him a 22-4 record in mixed martial arts.

When Pacquiao went to Dubai

Updated: September 26, 2020 02:12 PM

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