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Welterweight/middleweight boxing

Pac v Mac? Manny Pacquiao says he’s in talks to fight Conor McGregor

Filipino boxing legend claims his camp have approached UFC star’s handlers and are trying to negotiate a bout for April 2018

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2017, 10:42am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 4:52pm

Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said he has opened talks to fight MMA star Conor McGregor in April when he takes a break from his legislative duties.

“If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us,” Pacquiao said of McGregor, who lost a big money boxing match in August against the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather.

Asked if he had already approached the UFC star’s handlers, Pacquiao said: “Initially, but we have not yet had any follow-up conversations.”

But Pacquiao said he heard McGregor was willing to fight him after the Irishman’s foray into boxing.

Last month, Pacquiao appeared to be teasing a match with McGregor, posting a message to him on Twitter and Instagram.

Pacquiao, who turns 39 later this month, lost his WBO welterweight title to Australian former teacher Jeff Horn in July, having come out of retirement in 2016 to take the belt from American Jessie Vargas.

McGregor has not fought in mixed martial arts or boxing since losing to Mayweather by a 10th-round technical knockout in their much-hyped bout in Las Vegas in August.

Don’t patronise the man – Conor McGregor did as well as most sane people thought he would, which was as well as Floyd Mayweather allowed him to

Like McGregor, Pacquiao, who has won eight world championships in different weight divisions, also lost to Mayweather in a disappointing “fight of the century” in Las Vegas in 2015.

Pacquiao, who is treated like a national hero in his home country, parlayed his boxing fame into a political career, getting elected to the influential Philippine Senate in 2016.

He stressed McGregor is just one of many possible opponents when he returns to the ring for the first time since his defeat to Horn.

“It depends who they can finalise as my opponent by April,” Pacquiao said, adding the fight would have to be held during the lengthy Senate recess.

The boxer-turned-senator said he could also have a rematch with Horn or a fight with 29-year-old American Keith Thurman who holds the WBA super welterweight title and the WBC welterweight title.

Pacquiao said his next fight could be held in Malaysia, Dubai or Macau.