KEY POINTS

  • Manny Pacquiao's best opponent in his rumored return could be MMA star Conor McGregor
  • Pacquiao's spending during his bid for the Philippine presidency has linked him to making a ring comeback
  • Both men can earn the most money in doing a boxing match

Filipino boxing superstar-turned-politician Manny Pacquiao failed in his bid for the Philippine presidency and has been rumored to be making his return to the boxing ring sometime in August.

“Pac-Man” is coming off a loss from his August 2021 fight with Yordenis Ugas, and it is widely believed that he is gunning for a joust against either Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. as these fights make the most sense in bolstering his stock in the stacked welterweight division and in recouping the finances he spent during the elections.

Based on the summary of SALNs posted on the Philippine Senate’s website, Pacquiao declared a net worth of ₱3,187,092,600.69 ($60,746,463.03) in 2020, making him the second richest senator.

Because of the number of voters during the recently-concluded elections, "a presidentiable and his/her VP teammate are allowed to spend a max of ₱600 million ($11,436,090) each or ₱1.2 billion ($22,872,180) for both," as noted by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

This does take a sizable chunk off of Pacquiao's career earnings and might have his camp explore a possible big-name foe.

A financially-viable alternative for him is to figure in a boxing match with mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar and former UFC two-division titleholder Conor McGregor.

Pacquiao doing this fight makes a ton of sense from a financial standpoint as both he and McGregor are easily recognizable names around the world.

McGregor would be the ideal opponent for the returning Pacquiao in terms of skill in the boxing ring as the former, while a superb MMA fighter in his own right, is not as prominent for his ability to box.

The Irishman last fought in July 2021 against American rival Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight where he suffered a broken fibula and tibia.

Nearly a year removed from the gruesome injury, McGregor will also want to engineer his own come back, and facing an aging Pacquiao in the latter’s sport will allow him to get back to fighting form while also earning a ton of money in the process.

Estimates as to when McGregor will return to the limelight have him pegged sometime later in the year.

The financial side of the fight makes way too much sense not to let it happen as both men can certainly use this time to prepare for the big fights coming their way.

As for the date of this fight, September would be the likeliest candidate since Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s loss to Dmitry Bivol prevents him from potentially locking horns with fierce arch-nemesis Gennady Golovkin in a rubber match.

This hole would allow Pacquiao-McGregor the “big fight of the month” spectacle that accompanies the star power of these two combatants.

A Pacquiao-McGregor boxing showdown will likely draw in numbers similar to that of the UFC icon’s fight with Floyd Mayweather.

Billed as “The Money Fight,” McGregor earned himself around $100 million for the event, while Mayweather took home around $280 million.

The probability of seeing Pacquiao and McGregor trading punches in eight-ounce gloves is nothing new as it was reported that talks of a crossover duel fell through following the latter’s surprising second-round knockout loss to Poirier back in their January 2021 rematch.

International Business Times sports editor and combat sports analyst Nissi Icasiano spoke with Business World in 2021 to assess the likelihood of a Pacquiao-McGregor match a few days after McGregor’s loss.

“With this (loss to Poirier), I won’t be surprised if McGregor turns out to be just another option on the table from being Manny Pacquiao’s top choice,” said Icasiano.

Would it turn out to be a glorified sparring match? Possibly. Mayweather effortlessly outclassed McGregor and cruised to a 10th-round TKO victory.

Will the sports world tune in? With the star power of these two combat sports athletes, it most certainly will and both Pacquiao and McGregor will be likely to succeed in achieving their respective goals going into it.

Conor McGregor says he expects to spend six weeks on crutches after suffering a serious leg injury in a one-sided loss to Dustin Poirier
Conor McGregor says he expects to spend six weeks on crutches after suffering a serious leg injury in a one-sided loss to Dustin Poirier GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Stacy Revere
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