There’s been buzz for months now about a possible Manny Pacquiao vs Conor McGregor boxing vs. MMA clash later this year. And, despite Dana White of the UFC declaring that any such efforts would bring about a nasty lawsuit against McGregor, Pacquiao, and anyone trying to put together this fight, the rumors have persisted and things actually seem to be headed towards facilitating such an event.
Most recently, promoter Eddie Hearn, who brought the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch to Saudi Arabia for a big, big site fee, tossed Pacquiao’s name into the conversation about his next big event in the Middle East country.
“Pacquiao is a guy they would love to bring to the Kingdom”
“We’re gonna be doing a show there end of June/early July, which we’re looking into at the moment,” Hearn said. “They want us to deliver a huge show at the end of June/early July.
“I think Manny Pacquiao is a guy they would probably love to bring to the Kingdom…Anything’s possible, we’ve got this budget and we’ll put a card together that’ll be sensational.”
Would a mega-fight for mega-money, outside of the usual boundaries of the UFC control convince the UFC bossmen to allow McGregor to step back into a boxing ring? The Irishman’s 2017 TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather sure proved to be a financial windfall for everyone involved and a Pacquiao battle, with Saudi backing, could prove to be nearly as lucrative.
The timing of the bout, by the way, would also perfectly coincide with Manny’s stated goal of returning to the ring in July.
Pacquiao’s recent signing with Paradigm Sports Management, a combat sports management company that also represents McGregor, could make a Pacquiao-McGregor superfight more than a bit easier to put together.
The Filipino Factor
The fact that there’s a significant Filipino population living and working in Saudi Arabia could also help lead to the Filipino Icon deciding to make a fight stop in the “The Land of the Two Holy Mosques.” Resident Filipino enthusiasm could turn a big-money prizefight into a true international event.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether any business ties would prevent Pacquiao from being able to entertain offers for this kind of fight.
The eight-division world champ has been working with the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) company, which has broadcast ties with Fox and Showtime. Eddie Hearn, who would be promoting the Saudi Arabia card, has broadcast ties to streaming service DAZN.
Big Money=Big Cooperation?
But, again, in boxing, big money tends to lead to cooperative efforts between even the bitterest of rivals. If Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao’s former promoter Bob Arum– former partners who became fierce enemies– could work together in putting on the 2015 Mayweather-Pacquiao blockbuster, anything is possible. This Saturday’s Fox-ESPN collaborative Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury pay-per-view also stands as a testament to the fight business’s willingness to put aside differences in favor of profit.
Despite dismissals of the Manny Pacquiao vs Conor McGregor rumors as pure made-up nonsense or fantasy talk, the buzz persists and the stars seem to be aligning more and more.
Don’t be surprised if this cross-company, cross-sport dream fight actually happens.
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