Philippine boxing Champion, Manny Pacquiao, will face former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor in the ring next year, with part of the proceeds from the fight going to coronavirus victims in his country, his office said on Saturday.
Both fighters are “getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight,” said Jayke Joson, special assistant to Pacquiao, who is also a senator in the Philippines.
Joson’s statement followed a tweet by Irishman McGregor in which he said that he would be “boxing Pacquiao next in the Middle East”.
“We don’t deny it,” Joson said of the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion’s tweet.
McGregor announced on Twitter in June that for the third time he was retiring from the sport.
He first ‘quit’ in April 2016, and in March 2019 he again announced he was hanging up his gloves. On both occasions the retirements were short-lived.
Negotiation between the two camps “is now starting to move on”, Joson said, adding a “huge portion” of Pacquiao’s earnings would go to those affected by the pandemic.
Total confirmed coronavirus cases in the Philippines surpassed 300,000 on Saturday, while deaths rose to 5,284.
The 41-year-old Pacquiao is the only man in boxing history to hold world titles in eight different divisions.
He defeated Keith Thurman to win the WBA welterweight super belt in July, taking his record to 62 wins, seven losses and two draws, with 39 knockout