Manny Pacquiao appears to have confirmed he will fight former UFC star Conor McGregor in a sensational crossover bout in the Middle East next year.
McGregor claimed on Friday that he was set to take on Pacquiao, who is regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time and is now a senator in his native Phillipines.
And the news appears to have been confirmed by a statement from the ring legend’s office, with proceeds from the fight going towards helping Covid-19 victims.
“For the sake of all the Filipino Covid-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year,” the statement read.
“The huge portion of his earnings will proceed to those who are affected nationwide by the pandemic.”
The statement added that Pacquiao and McGregor were “getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight” in the Middle East next year.
McGregor announced his retirement from the UFC this summer – but as it was the third time in four years he had made such an announcement, fans have been expecting to see him back in action soon.
The former two-weight UFC champion lost to 50-0 boxing legend Floyd Mayweather in 2017, and has previously hinted that he wanted to take on Mayweather’s former rival Pacquiao.
Last month McGregor tweeted the word “accepted” in Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines as he sparked rumours that he was set to fight Pacquiao.
He took those claims a step further on Friday night when, at the end of his series of tweets, he wrote: “Anyway all water under the bridge who gives a f***. I’m boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East.”
Last month Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune dismissed the idea of the fight and said his man would beat McGregor inside three rounds.
“Why even make that guy rich? And it won’t do absolutely anything for Pacquiao as far as his legacy [is concerned],” Fortune told the Manila Times .
“Remember, this is just my opinion. Manny goes down as the greatest fighter in history when he finishes because no one has done what he accomplished in boxing. Why destroy your legacy for a bum like McGregor?
“Manny will destroy Conor McGregor inside the three rounds. He will obliterate him too fast and too strong as an amazing fighter. McGregor is nothing.”