The much-hyped boxing clash between Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and UFC icon Conor McGregor will be an “inevitable” event for 2021.
Per Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports Management, manager of the two fighters, the Pacquiao-McGregor bout would most likely happen before the end of the year.
“I definitely believe it’s inevitable for 2021,” Attar told Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport as reported by boxingscene.com. “Both fighters want it, that’s the key. You can’t make something happen or orchestrate it or choreograph it – which is the buzzword of this interview – you can’t fake that.
“If one side wants it and the other doesn’t, it’s not going to happen. But when both fighters want that fight to happen, why wouldn’t it happen? If the fans want to see it – that almost guarantees that it’s going to happen, right? As there’s enough interest to develop something there.”
Attar also disclosed that he had met with the UFC management regarding the fight, since McGregor is scheduled for a comeback at UFC 257 main event on January 23 with a rematch against Dustin Poirier.
One of the possible venues would be somewhere in the Middle East.
“The UFC said, ‘Alright, let’s do that rematch [with Poirier]’. We said, ‘OK, well let’s do that rematch first then, but then Manny will be the next fight’. And that’s what both fighters want. So, that’s the plan,” said the Paradigm chief.
“We’ve been having amazing conversation with stakeholders across the world, including the Middle East. We’ll see where it goes. I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen in 2021.”
This wasn’t the first time though that UFC, led by Dana White, would let McGregor participate in a boxing match.
In August 2017, McGregor lost to boxing champion Floyd Mayweather in “The Money Fight” after a 10th round technical knockout before the MMA star returned in the Octagon and finished Donald Cerrone in 40 seconds last January.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao, who also yielded to Mayweather in 2015, last saw action in the boxing ring with a split decision win against American Keith Thurman in 2019.