Rumors of a potential boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor were squashed by both Dana White and Bob Arum over the weekend. This comes on the heels of reports from international news agency AFP where Manny Pacquiao appeared to confirm that preliminary talks with McGregor have begun.
“If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us,” Pacquiao said. He also mentioned that it was his team (sans Bob Arum) that initially reached out to McGregor.
McGregor has been a target for many boxers after his 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather back in August. Despite McGregor having no previous professional boxing experience, the fight drew huge PPV numbers and was a financial success for both Mayweather and McGregor. Although McGregor lost, he remains a huge crossover star with massive earning potential against just about any boxer. Pacquiao is among the latest to take aim at the UFC lightweight champion but any ideas for a fight in 2018 have seemingly gone nowhere.
White addressed the rumors during the “UFC Fight Night: Fresno” post-fight presser and the idea that McGregor could compete in a boxing ring again before stepping back into the Octagon.
“That would be weird because he’s under contract with us,” White said. “If that’s true, I will be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him, so I’m assuming that’s not true. Yes, [McGregor’s next fight will be in the UFC].”
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum also addressed the potential fight.
“Is it true that Pacquiao reached out to McGregor? Yes, but it’s old news,” Arum said shortly after the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux fight in New York. “I would do it for Manny but for me, if I promoted that fight, I would tell everybody up front, ‘Guess what, it’s not a [expletive] fight. If you want a spectacle, you can watch it.’”
Not exactly encouraging words from either side. Also worth noting is the vitriol between White and Arum. The two have had unkind words about one another in the media over the years and the Top Rank Promoter took another shot at the UFC president over the weekend.
“[Dana White] is a piece of crap,” Arum said when asked about White’s interest in being a boxing promoter. “It’s an acknowledgment how strong boxing is that he has a UFC that’s cratering and he needs boxing to save himself.”
Although at odds, White did manage to give Arum credit for his tactics.
“At the end of the day, we’ll see who stands where when the smoke clears and the dust settles. I’ll give it to him though, for a [expletive] 95-year-old dude, this guy’s still pretty feisty. I’ll give him that. I’m impressed.”
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