PBC looms over Pacquiao-McGregor fight talks; aide says bout to help COVID-19 patients


Conor McGregor (left) and Sen. Manny Pacquiao will have to sort out a major contract situation before they can face off against each other. —AFP/SENATE PHOTO

Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s is planning to go head-to-head with mixed martial artist Conor McGregor next year with both camps in earnest talks to set a fight fate, members of the Filipino’s team said on Saturday.

However, a source has told the Inquirer that negotiations to seal that fight will have to go through Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), the outfit that has Pacquiao under contract for two more fights.

This was more or less confirmed by Pacquiao’s promoter Sean Gibbons, who earlier told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Los Angeles that while the eight-division world champion was mulling a possible comeback fight with McGregor, the two camps were a “long way” from agreement.

Earlier on Friday, McGregor, 32, said on Twitter he was “boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East.”

“It will be a true honor to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era,” McGregor added.

The details of the fight, such as the date and venue, are being ironed out, according to a statement of Pacquiao’s assistant Jayke Joson.

There’s a reason while everything is still up in the air. A source told the Inquirer that the PBC, under its chief Al Haymon, will contest any contract MP Promotions does with any other outfit, McGregor’s Paradigm Sports Management included.

Unless that issue gets resolved, and Pacquiao fight with the Irish MMA legend will have to wait until after the Filipino ring icon fights twice more under PBC.

If both Pacquiao and McGregor get a contract done, the eight-division champion plans to use part of his earnings from the fight to help COVID-19 patients.

“For the sake of all the Filipino COVID-19 victims, Sen. 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,” Joson said in a statement.

Pacquiao, 41, has not fought since claiming the WBA welterweight crown with a stunning victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas in July last year.

A bout against McGregor, who faced welterweight king Floyd Mayweather in a money-spinning 2017 fight, would guarantee Pacquiao another lucrative payday as he nears the end of an illustrious boxing career.

Despite his technical knockout loss to Mayweather in his boxing debut, McGregor had shown that he was capable of challenging “the best boxers in the world,” Gibbons said.

The lawyers of the two camps are finalizing the details and Pacquiao and McGregor are gearing up for “one epic last boxing fight.”

Pacquiao has successfully combined a political career in the Philippines, where he is an elected senator, while continuing to box at the highest level.

He had turned pro in his teens 25 years ago and owns a 62-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 39 knockouts.

“His main focus right now is to help here and there, providing relief, shelter, money and food, among other necessities,” Joson said. —WITH A REPORT FROM AFP

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