Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has said he wants to “experience fighting a mixed martial artist” in his next fight, opening the door to a lucrative showdown with Conor McGregor.
The Irish UFC star comes back to the Octagon for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on 24 January. But McGregor insists that he’s open to a return to boxing if he can fight for a world title belt.
Filipino megastar Pacquiao, now 42, is a 147lb world champion after beating previously undefeated Keith Thurman in 2019. So a bout between these two world-famous fighters would generate huge money and interest.
Manny Pacquiao on Errol Spence's last fight and whether he'll face Spence or Conor McGregor next: "He is too slow. Spence is slower than Thurman. They [Spence/McGregor] are my options, but right now I want to experience fighting an MMA [fighter]." [@BusinessMirror]
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) January 12, 2021
Now Pacquiao has given the strongest indication yet that McGregor is his next fight in 2021. Asked about taking on American welterweights Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford, the Pac Man told Filipino outlet Business Mirror:
“They’re my options, but right now I want to experience fighting an MMA [mixed martial artist],” referring to McGregor. “I will also donate a big portion of my income to Filipino Covid-19 victims.”
On Spence, Pacquiao – now a senator in the Philippines – replied: “He is too slow. Spence is slower than Thurman, but it’s going to be a good fight [between us].”