For now, Pacquiao-McGregor a figment of the imagination


ED C. TOLENTINO

You want to readily believe Conor McGregor’s latest pronouncement that he is close to signing a contract for a boxing showdown with Manny Pacquiao. Then again, considering that it is McGregor who is doing all the talking, there is the possibility that he is just taking everybody for a ride.

McGregor talking about a fight with Pacquiao is just meant to hype his upcoming return to the octagon. Inactive for fifteen months, mixed martial arts McGregor is booked to take on Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at UFC 246 on January 19 (Manila time) in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are familiar with McGregor, he would do and say anything just to sell the card.

McGregor did not just talk about fighting Pacquiao, he also discussed a possible boxing rematch with American Floyd Mayweather Jr. McGregor believes he did pretty well against Mayweather and that he has what it takes to win a boxing world title.

It is a good thing YouTube is readily available these days. You can connect your phone to the Internet and see how a 40-year-old Mayweather simply waited for McGregor to gas out before finishing him in the 10th round of their boxing match in August 2017. McGregor’s punches were wide and predictable and Mayweather was never seriously threatened. When the smoke of the battle cleared, Mayweather even bragged that he did not train for McGregor.

Truth be told, McGregor’s interest in boxing is all about the tons of cash he can still squeeze out from the punch-for-pay-business. In the Mayweather bout, McGregor bankrolled around $80 million.

McGregor’s earnings in the Mayweather fight instantly placed him in a higher tax bracket. McGregor’s business acumen, however, leaves plenty to be desired. Reports claim that McGregor’s company, the Conor McGregor Sports and Entertainment, has been recording losses. McGregor’s wealth remains intact, though, as he still earned an extra $3 million purse (not counting his pay-per-view shares) for losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018. McGregor also has a multi-year deal with Reebok that is worth around $5 million and a whiskey business which he claims had raked in $1 billion in profits.

Obviously, McGregor wants to keep the money flowing. McGregor’s decision to revive his interest on boxing may have been fueled by Mayweather’s recent announcement that he is plotting a comeback this year. Mayweather has lately been seen with UFC president Dana White and the latter hinted at a possible collaboration. White emphasized that he sees Mayweather “competing” instead of co-promoting a card with him.

Mayweather simply said that he is making a comeback; he did not specifically state that he is returning to boxing. Regardless, McGregor wants to be a part of it. Shortly after Mayweather hinted at a comeback, McGregor started talking about lacing on the gloves again.

Just to complete his publicity gag, McGregor also dragged Pacquiao into the picture, making it appear that his handlers are on the verge of closing a deal with the Pacman. But sources claim it is just a figment of McGregor’s imagination.

Make no mistake, McGregor-Pacquiao will make money, perhaps not as huge as McGregor-Mayweather, but big money just the same. McGregor-Pacquiao also figures to be more competitive, but just the same experts see the Pacman annihilating McGregor. The majority opinion has not changed: While McGregor owns a good punch, his overall skills as a boxer remain unpolished.

From a legacy standpoint, Pacquiao has nothing to gain from such a charade. If a 40-year-old and retired Mayweather made mincemeat out of McGregor, imagine what Pacquiao will do to the Irishman. Even at 41, Pacquiao remains sharp. Then again, Pacquiao is better off sticking to his plan of returning in April or May in a real boxing match. A fight with McGregor will not add anything to Pacquiao’s legacy as a boxer.

For McGregor, it will serve him well to just focus on the octagon where he arguably remains one of its biggest stars. Oh, if McGregor gets past Cerrone, he might want to settle some unfinished business with Nurmagomedov, the guy who manhandled him the last time he was in the octagon.



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