Manny Pacquiao confirms ongoing talks to fight Conor McGregor in 2021

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An aide to Sen. Manny Pacquiao confirmed Saturday that the eight-division boxing champion is in talks to fight mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor.

In response to McGregor’s tweet earlier Saturday morning (Manila time), Pacquiao’s assistant Jayke Joson confirmed in a statement released Saturday that they are “finalizing all the confidential details, but both fighters are getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight.”

“It is confirmed the negotiation between the camp of Senator Pacquiao and McGregor is now starting to move on. Again, as what our senator says, all his fights are dedicated for the welfare and unity of all Filipinos including this one,” Joson said.

Pacquiao, Joson added, will be donating proceeds from his fight against McGregor to victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year. The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic,” explained Joson.

“But our beloved Senator doesn’t want to talk about boxing since we are in the middle of the pandemic and this is not the right time for it. His main focus right now is to help here and there, providing relief, shelter, money and food, among other necessities,” he added.

According to Audie Attar, Paradigm Sports Management head, the showdown between the two icons may happen in the Middle East in early 2021, basically mirroring the former UFC champion’s Twitter post.

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons earlier told AFP in an e-mail that the two camps were a “long way” from agreeing to fight but negotiations have since progressed.

Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), 41, last fought in July 2019 in a successful split decision victory to claim the WBA “super” welterweight crown over Keith Thurman.

If the fight pushes through, it will be McGregor’s second time to tangle with a boxing megastar. In 2017 he lost to Floyd Mayweather in a 10th-round TKO. He last fought in January, knocking out Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds in UFC 246.