KEY POINTS

  • Manny Pacquiao might lose his WBA Super Welterweight title if he opts to fight Conor McGregor next year
  • WBA gives Pacquiao "grace period" to defend his title but “will want movement in the next six months or so”
  • "Regular" titleholder Yordenis Ugas to elevate to Pacquiao's post if the latter fails to defend his belt

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is facing a crucial dilemma in his reported crossover bout against MMA superstar Conor McGregor.

A report from Phil Jay of World Boxing News stated that Pacquiao could be removed from his WBA super welterweight throne should he push through with the fight against the Irish icon in 2021.

Jay wrote that Pacquiao will most likely be stripped off the title belt “if he doesn’t defend it in the next few months,” citing that the WBA sets a deadline for its champions to stage a title defense.

Pacquiao, 41, has not fought since defeating erstwhile champion Keith Thurman in July 2019 in Las Vegas.

The fight against McGregor is likely to be held in the second quarter of 2021. If Pacquiao opts to sign up for the blockbuster event, then it would be highly doubtful for him to defend his welterweight title.

Rumors claim that Pacquiao and McGregor would fight for charity at a weight class higher than 147. That, plus McGregor’s 0-1 boxing record, makes it more unlikely that both fighters would battle for the fighting senator’s WBA belt.

Jay’s report further stated that Pacquiao has been given a "grace period" by the WBA to extend his hiatus from the fighting scene with the current COVID-19 pandemic being put into consideration. The association, however, “will want movement in the next six months or so.”

Yordenis Ugas, who holds the “regular” belt, would be next in line to challenge Pacquiao. But if the Filipino superstar decides against defending his title within the time limit, then the Cuban champion would automatically be promoted to the super welterweight titleholder post by the WBA.

McGregor's manager, Audie Attar, told ESPN in the last week of September that they are already in serious talks with Pacquiao. The confirmation came following a tweet from the Irish, stating that he is “boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East.”

Pacquiao’s camp, through his special assistant Jayke Joson, then confirmed the development, saying the fighting senator would donate a “huge portion of his earnings” to help his fellow Filipinos who are heavily affected by the pandemic.

“It is confirmed the negotiation between the camp of Senator Pacquiao and McGregor is now starting to move on,” Joson said, via Inquirer.

“Again as what our senator says, all his fights are dedicated for the welfare and unity of all Filipinos including this one.”

Manny Pacquiao Manny Pacquiao beat Adrien Broner on Saturday night to retain his WBA welterweight title. In this picture, Pacquiao in the ring during the WBA welterweight championship against Adrien Broner at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 19, 2019. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images