It’s the fight everyone has been waiting for.
A mega-fight that could rack up insane pay-per-view numbers.
Manny Pacquiao has confirmed he will fight Conor McGregor in the Middle East next year as boxing meets MMA once again, The Independent reported.
The UFC superstar was supposedly retired from fighting after vowing to walk away from the octagon for a third time in four years, but the 32-year-old created buzz on Friday by revealing a mega fight against the legendary Filipino.
After losing to Floyd Mayweather in 2017 by knockout, McGregor will hope to prove his worth in the boxing ring once more, this time against a much smaller opponent, with the 41-year-old corroborating his claim, the report said.
“For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year,” said Pacquiao’s office.
A “huge portion of his earnings” will be donated to those in the Philippines who are being affected by the pandemic, they added.
The Philippines has the most confirmed Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asia and the region’s second-highest number of coronavirus deaths, next to Indonesia, the report said.
Total confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines surpassed 300,000 on Saturday, while deaths rose to 5,284.
McGregor had taken to Twitter earlier, claiming it would be an “honour” to share the ring with the eight-division world champion, the report said.
“I’m boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East,” McGregor said. “It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era.”
The 41-year-old Pacquiao, whose speed and power belie his age, is the only man in boxing history to hold world titles in eight different divisions.
He last fought in July 2019, beating Keith Thurman to take his record to 62 wins and seven defeats, with two draws, the report said.
Billed as “The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History,” McGregor vs Mayweather was one of the most lucrative bouts of all time, generating £450 million (US$580 million) in pay-per-view revenue.
The fight itself delivered few fireworks as Mayweather — who smartly bided his time and pulled McGregor into the deep end — won with relative ease.
It was reported that Mayweather’s guaranteed disclosed paycheque was US$100 million and McGregor’s guaranteed disclosed paycheque was US$30 million.
However, the purse for the two fighters was expected to be substantially higher for each, with Mayweather reportedly earning US$280 million from the fight and McGregor earning US$130 million.
McGregor vs Pacquiao would likely generate huge interest too and insane money, particularly in the Philippines where Pacquiao is hugely popular.
But both fighters have a huge fan base around the world and boxing aficionados estimate the pay-per-view tally from sports-starved fans in the Covid era could exceed US$750 million, a modern-day record.
— The Independent, Al Jazeera