Pacquiao keeping a keen eye on McGregor's UFC bout
Conor McGregor and Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao keeping a keen eye on McGregor's UFC bout

Dino Maragay (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2021 - 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will be glued to the television this Sunday when UFC superstar Conor McGregor steps back into the octagon against Dustin Poirier in the main event of UFC 257 at the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Pacquiao’s special assistant Jayke Joson said the fighting senator has already ordered the pay-per-view bout and will be watching it at his home in Dasmarinas, Makati.

The eight-division world champion is keeping a close tab on McGregor as he continues to pursue a megabuck boxing match with the MMA star sometime this year.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Pacquiao allied himself with Paradigm Sports Management — which handles McGregor — with the ultimate aim to get the Irish fighter to share the boxing ring with him.

“The moment Senator MP signed up with the Paradigm Sports Management from the very start since early last year, that is part of their talks to set up their duel and it is really a no-brainer [that they will fight],” said Joson. 

“And Senator MP just even subscribed in a pay-per-view to watch and see the result of McGregor’s fight personally this Sunday morning (Saturday in Manila). I am very sure everyone will watch the fight,” he added.

McGregor should first deal with Poirier, a southpaw like Pacquiao, on Sunday to further boost his stock.

According to Joson, a win by McGregor would inevitably lead to more talks between Pacquiao’s camp — lead by business manager Arnold Vegafria — and Paradigm president Audie Attar about fine-tuning a contract for a Pacquiao-McGregor clash.

“After January 23, that’s the time we can finalize everything,” said Vegafria, who was originally scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi last Tuesday until new quarantine restrictions prompted by the new COVID-19 variant  forced him to cancel his travel plans.

For his part, McGregor believes a fight with Pacquiao is inevitable this year, and that he himself has started preparations for it.

“It’s almost a certainty,” McGregor recently told sports.net.ca. “I am hearing there’s contract and all coming. It’s that close. So, I don’t, I haven’t spoke — it should happen 2021. Like I said I want to get my MMA game going a bit more as well.”

“I have been fighting professional boxers in the gym, sparring with southpaw boxers in the gym in preparation not just for Dustin but Manny. I’ve had shorter 5’5 rockets coming at me, you know what I mean,” McGregor added.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought since dominating Keith Thurman in July 2019 to become the WBA welterweight champion.

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