Conor McGregor Reveals Negotiations to Box Manny Pacquiao in Late 2020 or Early 2021

By Jay Pettry Sep 25, 2020

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship two-division champ Conor McGregor has his sights set on boxing again.

In a lengthy string of tweets from “Notorious” on Friday, McGregor posted several text messages sent back and forth between UFC President Dana White earlier this year. Among topics the Irishman discussed on Twitter included his intent on fighting UFC Hall of Famer Diego Sanchez, his disinterest in serving as an injury replacement and his desire to put on a blockbuster event. McGregor concluded his series of messages by putting the sport on notice that he was going to box again, and that his opponent of choice is all-time great Manny Pacquiao.

ESPN revealed shortly after McGregor’s Twitter posts that “Notorious” was indeed actively negotiating to fight Pacquiao. Audie Attar, McGregor’s manager, told ESPN that the intention is for McGregor to face off against Pacquiao in either late December or early January. The destination in mind is the Middle East, and if the UFC is involved, the Flash Forum on Yas Island could be a potential venue.

According to Attar, the UFC was interested in McGregor boxing again, to follow the smashing success of McGregor taking on Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. Although Mayweather knocked him out in the 10th round, the pay-per-view sales were some of the highest in the history of combat sporting events. This trip back to the boxing ring would be another one-off, and the Irishman is considering a return to the Octagon in 2021.

McGregor (22-4 MMA, 0-1 Box) previously fought in January, where he knocked out Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246. The bout was his first since 2018, when Khabib Nurmagomedov finished him with a neck crank in the fourth round at UFC 229. The championship bout with Nurmagomedov was his first in MMA since 2016, as McGregor took time off from the sport to box Mayweather. All three judges awarded McGregor the first round, while judge Dave Moretti also gave McGregor the second and third. The other two awarded the remaining rounds to Mayweather until the stoppage in Round 10.

Earlier in September, McGregor was taken into custody and questioned on the island of Corsica under the suspicion of attempted sexual assault and indecent exposure. McGregor and his attorney denied the allegations, and he was not charged. This news followed an unexpected drug test from USADA, where the drug-testing agency went to his yacht to test him. Since McGregor was tested by USADA, he still remains in the testing pool, which means that he is not formally retired from MMA.

Pacquiao last competed in July 2019, where he became the first man to defeat Keith Thurman, doing so by split decision. In the process, Pacquiao won the WBA Super Welterweight title, a belt he previously competed for in 2015 against Mayweather only to come up short. According to The Ring, Pacquiao is the first man in boxing history to win the welterweight strap on four separate occasions. He is also the oldest fighter to ever hold that 147-pound throne.

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