MANILA, Philippines – UFC star Conor McGregor remains the more realistic opponent for Sen. Manny Pacquiao next year after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic since the Filipino icon has nothing left to prove in the sport, the senator’s top aide said Tuesday.
For Pacquiao’s special assistant Jayke Joson, the boxer has been a world champion in eight different weight classes — and even at his 40s, he was able to beat much younger opponents in Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman in his last two outings.
Joson insisted that Pacquiao only deserves the biggest and most financially rewarding fight — and that is against McGregor.
“Senator loves his fellow Filipinos and he likes to entertain them by fighting not only the best but what the people want — and that’s UFC star Conor McGregor. They deserve a bigger fight like this or should I say this dream fight,” said Joson.
Joson is confident that Pacquiao (62-7-2, with 39 knockouts) can defeat unified International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) Errol Spence Jr. — who outpointed Danny Garcia last Sunday to defend his titles — and even reigning World Boxing Organization Terence Crawford.
In a recent story by Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, MP Promotions President Sean Gibbons said Pacquiao is interested in fighting Spence.
But Joson said Pacquiao — who holds the World Boxing Association version of the welterweight belt — does not need to fight the undefeated Spence to cement his legacy.
“Pacquiao versus McGregor is a dream fight that everybody wanted to see. Other fights like Spence or Crawford are no longer realistic. The senator has been a world champion of those belts and nothing to prove anymore in his career, so we need something big like McGregor,” added Joson.
For his part, Pacquiao’s business manager Arnold Vegafria said the senator’s main priority right now is to help his fellow Filipino in these desperate times. And it is obvious that Pacquiao, he said, can generate more money to help the people by fighting McGregor than anyone else like Spence or Crawford.
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Senator MP’s fight with McGregor will generate more funds to help his fellow Filipinos. It will give him the biggest payday in his last three previous bouts. A fight against the other boxers will not give him that kind of amount,” Vegafria said.
According to various online news reports, McGregor earned $130 million in his 2017 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. while the latter took home $280 million.
McGregor is always a supporter of Pacquiao, particularly his good deeds. In fact, he did the same thing in his hometown in Ireland during this pandemic, when he donated medical supplies to hospitals and provided help to those homeless people.
Pacquiao — who will be celebrating his 42nd birthday next week — has been in the fight game for more than 20 years.
Joson said Pacquiao remains committed in his early promise to donate a portion of his purse against McGregor to COVID-19 victims.
“That is something he will never forget — help his people the best he can,” said Joson.
The Pacquiao-McGregor bout, which is being eyed by Paradigm Sports Management president Audie Attar, could happen by next year in Dubai.
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