Pacquiao vs McGregor? – The fight was excoriated before the fact, but it ended up being somewhat entertaining even though the result was never in question. Although the numbers haven’t been finalized yet, at the worst Mayweather-McGregor will be the second most watched combat sporting event in history. With Floyd Mayweather going in as the most famous and well known boxer in the world and Conor McGregor being the biggest and most talked about fighter in MMA, it couldn’t miss from a promotional vantage point and many fans couldn’t wait to see it.
With the fight now history and neither boxing nor MMA taking a hit in the eyes of the public – now what? As most know Mayweather after beating McGregor, retired from boxing that night and it’s probably safe to assume we’ll never see him in the ring again. And with Floyd gone, McGregor is probably the best known combat sports participant throughout the world due to all the attention and notoriety he gained from being in the ring with Mayweather and not really embarrassing himself. Minus Mayweather, McGregor is now the highest paid fighter in combat sports as well. And that presents an interesting question for McGregor regarding whether to fight in the ring or the octagon next time out?
McGregor will probably gross over one-hundred million dollars for his bout with Mayweather when all is tabulated, which is roughly 20-times more than he’s ever made fighting in the UFC. It’s been rumored that since it’s doubtful he could even gross ten-million dollars against any opponent in the UFC, he’s approached President Dana White and wants a percentage of the company. Something White would hate to have to do. He knows McGregor is a fan favorite among MMA fans and they probably can’t wait to see him in the octagon again – and Conor knows it too. And because of that McGregor is going to demand a ton of money and White is well aware of that….and that could be the start of another power struggle between them.
However, McGregor has other options still. Prior to facing Mayweather, McGregor sparred retired former two-division champ Paulie Malignaggi twice. There’s been discrepancy as to who actually got the better of it between them, and it basically boils down to whom you believe Paulie or Conor. All that we know for sure is since then there’s been an ongoing feud between Malignaggi 36-8 (7) and McGregor 0-1. Paulie has been calling out Conor beginning the day after he fought Mayweather. But it’s not catching on and it would be a tough sell to both fans of boxing and MMA. Paulie is too far removed from his best days as a fighter and isn’t a draw. He is without a doubt the most insightful boxing commentator calling fights today – but no one wants to see him fight McGregor or anyone else.
My suspicion is McGregor’s next fight might be in the ring while he can still capitalize on his name, but not against Malignaggi. I think there’s a better chance Manny Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38) will be McGregor’s opponent. Prior to fighting Mayweather, Pacquiao stressed that he’d love to fight McGregor if he and Floyd couldn’t agree on terms. Pacquiao is still a name and wasn’t really hurt by losing his WBO title to Jeff Horn in his last bout this past July via a controversial decision. Most who saw the fight felt Pacquiao was robbed and should’ve won the decision. Last week Manny declined to fight a rematch against Horn this coming November – citing his obligations in the Philippine Senate as the reason why he can’t go through with it.
I happen to think there’s more to it. Pacquiao knows he doesn’t need to beat Horn in a rematch to stay in the mix for another big money fight, but he does need a name opponent or a gimmick. Horn is a rough guy and often manhandled Manny during their bout. He doesn’t need to face Horn if it’s not going to be for a small fortune, and it won’t be. Bob Arum who promotes Pacquiao and undisputed junior welterweight champ Terence Crawford, wants to set Terence up so he can capture a piece of the welterweight title in his maiden fight at 147. He can do that by making Horn defend his title against him in place of Pacquiao. He knows Crawford will surely beat Horn and hopefully that will set up Terence to make his first defense against Manny in what would be a very high profile fight. Pacquiao would be paid a lot for losing and Crawford would be introduced to more fans than he’s ever fought in front of before.
In the meantime Pacquiao could fight McGregor and bypass a second tough fight with Horn for not a ton of money. In order for McGregor to be a draw in his next fight as a boxer, it needs to be against an opponent in which there’s a pretty good case for Conor to win. If McGregor were to face Pacquiao, it could be said he gained a lot of experience having been in the ring with Mayweather for 28-minutes, and he’s also younger and bigger than Pacquiao.
Conversely, Manny has declined dramatically over his last few fights and couldn’t even dominate an inexperienced fighter like Jeff Horn who only had 16 pro bouts prior to their fight.
When Mayweather and McGregor fought they were perfect for each other. Mayweather wanted a huge payday along with securing his 50th consecutive victory…and knew he was no longer capable of defeating any of the elite younger title holders. McGregor was the ideal gimmick. As for McGregor, he was looking for a monster payday that he couldn’t get fighting in the octagon, so fighting a smaller boxer who hadn’t fought in nearly 800 days who was 40 fit the bill. If Pacquiao and McGregor were to fight they’d fill the same type void. Pacquiao can always use money and the prospect of earning it without fighting a killer while preserving himself for his farewell against Crawford would be a smart business move. No doubt after seeing McGregor in the ring with Mayweather, it’s highly unlikely Manny has to worry about Conor hurting him with his fist.
As for McGregor, he can ride his novelty as a boxer once more and get paid 15-20 million dollars as a result. But he needs to fight a boxer with a name who he also has a prayer to beat, and Pacquiao checks off all the boxes. If McGregor lost to Pacquiao he would still return to the UFC as a superstar….and if he somehow beats Manny, he’d make another fortune fighting a name boxer.
I believe if Conor McGregor goes into the ring again, Manny Pacquiao and not Paulie Malignaggi will be his opponent.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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