By Beting Laygo Dolor, Contributing Editor
One holds the record for the most number of world titles in eight weight classes in professional boxing while the other is a brash champion who is arguably the most popular draw in mixed martial arts (MMA). Both are also considered as heroes in their native lands.
A possible fight between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Conor McGregor of Ireland is now in the works with a potential to generate US$250 million.
It was McGregor’s camp which announced the talks, with the fight to be held under pro boxing rules such as use of boxing gloves, 12 three minute rounds and three judges scoring the bout, among others.
Under such rules, McGregor will be at a huge disadvantage but the mega-payday might be too much for him to ignore. He has only fought under pro boxing rules once, losing in 10 rounds to the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The same holds true for Pacquiao, who has had a career resurgence after racking up a string of victories against top contenders in recent years.
It was also against Mayweather that Pacquiao fought the biggest fight of his storied career. He also lost a 12-round decision to the American. Pacquiao claimed after his loss that he was fighting with a shoulder injury.
If the Pacquiao-McGregor match does not pan out, a re-match with Mayweather is also a possibility, as their first fight is considered the highest grossing pay-per-view match of all time.
Boxing expert Gareth Davies was recently quoted as saying that the Pacquiao-McGregor fight was not only “viable” but that it could happen this year.
Davies said that the Filipino would be the heavy favorite to beat the Irishman since the latter is used to the shorter MMA matches.
In his fight with Mayweather, McGregor had been doing well in the early rounds, only to lose steam as the fight progressed.
Also, the use of gloved fists only slowed him down. Unlike pro or amateur boxing, MMA allows the use of bare fists, elbows, knees and feet.
McGregor has not been active in MMA of late, having been absent for the past 15 months. Known as the Notorious One, McGregor returned to the octagon in a non-title, welterweight bout in Las Vegas against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas over the weekend. It only took 40 seconds before the referee stopped the brutal pummeling McGregor was handing Cerrone.
It was in the Nevada city that the MMA champion himself admitted that talks with the Pacquiao camp had started, although nothing has been finalized yet.
McGregor has earned a bad boy image due to his ferocious fighting style but also because he has been involved in a number of bar room brawls in the past.
McGregor admitted that the Filipino appeared “interested” in yet another big money fight, which would not only cement his legacy but pad his already humongous bank account.
Now a senator, the 41-year-old Pacquiao, popularly known as Pacman, is known to be aiming for greater things outside the ring.
He has also played for and coached a professional basketball team and two years ago set up the Maharlika Philippine Basketball League to compete against the Philippine Basketball Association.
He has also recorded some songs and appeared in a handful of movies. Pacquiao is also considered one of the Philippines’ top product endorsers.
Pacquiao is the only Filipino billionaire who is not head of a business conglomerate. He is considered the greatest Filipino athlete of all time and is known to be mulling the idea of running for president in 2022.
Globally, however, his reputation took a hit a couple of years ago when he spoke out against same-sex marriage. A born again Christian, he is also in favor of capital punishment.