McGregor-Pacquiao boxing match reportedly being finalized


MMA legend Conor McGregor is once again stepping into the boxing ring to take on one of the sport's greats.

McGregor, who retired from UFC for a third time earlier this year, is in the final stages of negotiating a blockbuster exhibition against WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.

McGregor took to social media on Friday to announce that the bout was in the works -- to be held "in the Middle East" -- and Pacquiao's camp confirmed the news on Saturday, according to Philippine outlet Philstar.

The bout would take place in "late December or early January," McGregor's manager told ESPN, and confirmed the Middle East was one of several "locations" being considered.

McGregor previously took on boxing champion Floyd Mayweather in a 2017 exhibition, promoted by UFC. McGregor held his own for a few rounds before Mayweather, a technician, took over. The fight was stopped in the 10th round when McGregor, an inexperienced brawler, appeared to be on the verge of getting knocked out.

Pacquiao, now a senator in his native Philippines, has scaled back his fighting schedule in recent years, but he still holds titles and is still considered one of the better non-heavyweight fighters in the world.

Pac Man has gone 5-1 in six bouts since his defeat at the hands of Mayweather in May 2015, a highly anticipated bout that was long delayed by testy negotiations and quibbling over the split of the purse.

Pacquiao last fought in July 2019, when he beat Keith Thurman for the WBA welterweight title. He also defeated Adrien Broner earlier in 2019.

A "huge portion" of Pacquiao's earnings would go to COVID-19 relief, according to his aide.

McGregor plans to return to UFC after the bout with Pacquiao, according to his manager. He last fought in January, a 40-second knockout victory.

It was unclear what weight class the fighters were discussing.