Appearing recently on Fox Sports, WBO welterweight champion and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao threw himself into the “Notorious” Conor MacGregor sweepstakes.
The man writing as Edward Chaykovsky from Boxing Scene first dimed on Pac's willingness to jump in if things fall apart with the Mayweather camp.
“We tried to make the Conor McGregor fight,” Mayweather said, last week on ESPN's First Take. “They know what my number is. My number is a guaranteed $100 million. That was my number. We are willing to give him $15 million and then we can talk about splitting the percentage—the back end—on the pay-per-view.”
You can be sure if Pacquiao fights MacGregor – under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – that Floyd's only remaining option to fight for megabucks would be a rematch with Pacquiao (or Canelo Alvarez) for far less “Money.”
Mayweather won't get anywhere near $100 million for MacGregor. But “Pac-Man” would attack any chance to violently spray paint the UFC superstar in a new market.
“In boxing? In boxing [I would fight McGregor] but not in [UFC], just boxing,” said Pacquiao with glee.
In all seriousness, the only way this works is if we saw both fighters exactly as they are; in an Octagon but under boxing rules, broadcast over a UFC/Top Rank special event. It would be big for boxing, as the sport would get in front of a massive MMA audience and its sponsors.
This means Conor in his little MMA spandex situation – complete with the MMA 4oz gloves and barefeet; against Pacquiao (or Floyd) in 8oz Reyes, flashy boxing trunks and the whole nine.
Both disciplines would now be in a fair compromise of logistics, but that's where fairness ends. Conor MacGregor in front of Floyd Mayweather… This would look like a welterweight John L. Sullivan against a 40 year-old “Pretty Boy” Floyd. That's like, REALLY bad for MacGregor.
“I didn't see [footage of Conor sparring],” Pacquiao said, when asked if he'd seen Notorious box. “But if we are talking about Conor McGregor and boxing, it’s different. Boxing is different than MMA.”
This is smart for Pacquiao in a few ways (set to face crude Ricky Hatton knock-off Jeff Horn on April 22 in Australia). He gets publicity on a dying trending topic to promote his global event, while possibly setting up another.
Pac-Man could also gobble leverage on Mayweather at the business table if he were to fight Conor instead. Pac destroyed Oscar De La Hoya when Floyd wouldn't rematch the “Golden Boy” in 2008, before annihilating an Antonio Margarito in November 2010 that Floyd never wanted to face.
All of the above and in between set up Pacquiao as a solid A-list star. For anyone wanting a reminder of the November 2010 version of Pacquiao, a McGregor fight would show you.
And remember, just when you thought you'd seen it all– President Donald J. Trump happens.