By Beting Laygo Dolor, Contributing Editor
Manny Pacquiao, also a Philippine senator, is a billionaire in peso terms, having earned a fortune as the world’s only title holder in eight different weight classes.
At 41, he is now at the twilight of his career but is still considered a huge draw and he knows it.
Since last year, there have been on and off talks of a mega fight with Conor McGregor, arguably the biggest draw in mixed martial arts.
That talk was revived last week, with Pacquiao saying he was willing to meet McGregor on one condition: his MP Promotions would have to be involved in the match.
This, after McGregor had said that a fight with reigning WBA welterweight champion Pacquiao to be held in the Middle East was in the works.
Pacquiao refused to confirm this, only telling a UK-based newspaper, “I have formed my own company, Pac Sports and Entertainment. I’m more than willing to give the fans what they want: an exciting fight with Conor McGregor under terms and conditions where I am the co-promoter with my company.”
As for the purse, the fighter known worldwide as PacMan said he was willing to split the prize money 50-50.
While the prize money is certain to be in the hundreds of millions, the promoter or co-promoter stands to earn similar huge sums, both from ticket sales at the gate, as well as pay-per-view.
One possible hindrance to the potential blockbuster is McGregor’s existing contract with the UFC. The mixed martial artist, however, said last year that he was retiring from MMA, although he had retired before and came out of retirement when a big money fight was offered to him.
One other question that had earlier been settled is under what rules the match would be held.
Such a fight could take place as proven by the earlier match-up between McGregor and boxer Floyd Mayweather, who for a decade was tagged as the best pound for pound fighter in the world, alternating with Pacquiao for the honor.
Pacquaio and Mayweather fought in what was then the highest grossing pay-per-view fight ever when both were at their peak. The unbeaten American defeated the Filipino, who later said he had fought Mayweather despite having a shoulder injury.
More recently, in August 2017, Mayweather beat McGregor in a fight under “hybrid” professional boxing rules.
Pacquiao’s other company, MP Promotions, is not too sure that the fight can take place under present circumstances.
CEO Sean Gibbons said because of the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing in paying crowds would be next to impossible, given the social distance requirements.
“You need crowds to generate the kind of money it takes to put on an event like that,” said Gibbons.
Doubters also said that a Pacquiao-McGregor match would be “boring” as it would likely be nothing more than a repeat of the Mayweather-McGregor fight. The MMA champion gave a good account of himself only in the early rounds, after which the undefeated boxer’s defensive skills frustrated his opponent for the remainder of the snoozefest.
Mayweather himself has also hinted in recent times of a possible rematch with Pacquiao but “only if the price is right.”
Whether the mega fight pushes through or not, Pacquiao has enough on the table to keep busy for the next few years. He no longer denies rumors that he is eyeing the Philippine presidency, possibly in the 2022 elections.
He has taken his senatorial duties seriously and even managed to earn a college degree while serving as lawmaker.
Pacquiao recently placed on the market his home in Forbes Park, the most exclusive village in the Philippines, for PHP1 billion (about US$20 million).