Manny Pacquiao is out of retirement and looking at a big money fight against Conor McGregor in Saudi Arabia.
“Pac-Man” retired from professional competition in 2021 but never really hung up the gloves. He fought influencer DK Yoo at the end of 2022 and has been in talks to fight Buakaw Banchamek and Floyd Mayweather in exhibition bouts. There’s even talks of Manny trying to make it into the Olympics!
Now, according to his agent Sean Gibbons, Pacquiao is properly back to boxing as a pro and looking at some very big fights.
“Technically he’s out of retirement,” Gibbons said in an interview with BoxingScene. “One of the fights that people talked about for a long time was Manny Pacquiao versus Conor McGregor. That’s something that will be sensational in Saudi Arabia, let’s go. It will be a good place to do it.”
This may sound like more talk from Team Pacquiao, but they have the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to a big fight like this: a money man in Saudi Arabia willing to bankroll it.
“It’s really simple. His Excellency Turki Alalshikh [head of the Saudi Arabia Sports Authority] loves big events, and he’s putting on the best events. It’s a very intriguing and fun fight bringing two of the biggest names together in combat sports.”
Of course, there’s the UFC that may stand in the way of this. They hold McGregor’s exclusive contract, and aren’t likely to want him boxing Manny Pacquiao in Saudi Arabia. Then again, they don’t seem in much of a rush to book him at all.
McGregor was trying to fight on a December 2023 card. Then March, then April for UFC 300. Over New Years he said he was fighting at the end of June, but UFC said that wasn’t happening. McGregor has already not-so-subtly threatened to go back to boxing if there wasn’t a UFC fight ready for him, and he may legally be allowed under the Muhammad Ali act.
But hey, if the UFC doesn’t want McGregor til the second half of 2024, why not let him box Manny Pacquiao in the first half?