Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao's in-ring days are numbered, but the Filipino wants his final one or two fights to be huge spectacles.
According to his trainer Freddie Roach, the current WBA welterweight champion will fight once or twice in 2021 before hanging up his gloves — for real this time — to concentrate on politics in his home country, the Phillippines.
In an interview with Business Mirror, the 42-year-old former eight-weight world titleholder reiterated that he has little interest in facing off against today's stars at 147lb, such as WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO titleholder Terence Crawford before he can potentially lure UFC megastar Conor McGregor back into the boxing ring.
"They're my options, but right now, I want to experience fighting an MMA (mixed martial artist)," Pacquiao said. "I will also donate a big portion of my income to Filipino COVID-19 victims."
McGregor crossed over into boxing in August 2017, only to be stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr, who also defeated Pacquiao in 2015. He has repeatedly entertained the idea of returning, most notably against former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi. Still, his next assignment will take place inside the UFC's Octagon against Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 at UFC 257.
"Pac-Man" did nonetheless seem open to finishing his storied fighting career against a more established world title-level boxer but believes Spence has lost a step since cheating death in a car crash.
"Spence is slower than [Keith] Thurman, but it's going to be a good fight," he continued. "I think Spence lost a step from the accident."
Upon seeing those quotes himself, Spence was far from impressed as he took to social media.
Nobody care bout none of that— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) January 11, 2021
Meanwhile, the Pacquiao-McGregor scenario grew even more bizarre when WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman claimed Ireland's McGregor would be eligible to challenge for their version of the world title if he were to defeat just one ranked opponent — which one can only imagine would be the case if he were to somehow best "Pac".
"I would say he needs to face and defeat a ranked fighter," Sulaiman told The Sun. "Then he would be eligible to be ranked and to compete for a title. Because, we have plenty of examples of Muay Thai fighters, who turn professional in international boxing, and they are eligible to fight for the title.
"We also have amateur superstars like Vasiliy Lomachenko, they come into professional boxing and fight for the title, and it's proven it works."