UFC star Conor McGregor is one of several opponents under consideration for Manny Pacquiao’s possible return to the boxing ring in April.
Pacquiao confirmed to news agency AFP he has had limited communications with McGregor’s camp about the potential matchup.
“Initially (we had contact), but we have not yet had any follow-ups,” Pacquiao said. “It depends who they can finalize as my opponent by April.”
Pacquiao hasn’t fought since July when he lost a controversial decision to Jeff Horn in Australia. McGregor’s only action of 2017 was a one-sided loss in his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August at T-Mobile Arena.
McGregor has not fought in the UFC since winning the lightweight belt against Eddie Alvarez in November 2016. UFC president Dana White said last week it’s possible McGregor would never fight again after collecting a massive paycheck for the fight against Mayweather.
“Listen, Conor may never fight again,” White said. “The guy’s got a (expletive) $100 million. I know guys that made way less than that as lawyers who went to school their whole life and quit working and just sit around watching cartoons all day. (Some) guys make money, and that’s it. Fighting’s the worst. Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything for a lot of people. So, we’ll see.”
Pacquiao has a limited window to fight because of his duties as an elected official in the Philippines, but indicated he might fight in April.
McGregor’s most logical opponent for a return to the UFC would be interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, but Ferguson recently underwent elbow surgery and will be out indefinitely.
There’s also a possibility McGregor could fight former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who won the middleweight belt last month and then vacated it Thursday. A meeting at welterweight could be the most lucrative bout the UFC could book at the moment, though White said the fight has not been discussed.
McGregor is believed to be in negotiations for a new contract with the UFC, which would almost certainly have to approve of a potential bout against Pacquiao.
The South Point sports book has opened Pacquiao as a minus-400 favorite against McGregor in a hypothetical bout.