SHOULD the exhibition match between World Boxing Association welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Irish UFC and mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor push through, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s former trainer, believes the bout would be a cakewalk for his prized ex-ward.
Roach twitted over the weekend that “if this (is) true, @MannyPacquiao will have an easier time with you The Notorious MMA (McGregor’s twitter account) than when he fought @Hitman Hatton.”
Roach was referring to one of Pacquiao’s celebrated victims, Briton Ricky Hatton, who suffered a shocking second-round knockout at the Pinoy prizefighter’s hand on Feb. 5, 2009 when they fought for the International Boxing Organization super lightweight crown at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
That devastating setback effectively sent Hatton, known for his moniker “Hitman,” into retirement.
“Anyway all water under the bridge, who gives a fook. I’m boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East,” McGregor fired back at the noted American ring guru in response.
Both sports celebrities are under contract with Paradigm Sports Management led by former American football player turned agent Audie Attar.
But UFC president Dana White was skeptical the Paquiao-McGregor clash would materialize.
“I have no idea. Listen, you guys have been asking me about Conor McGregor forever. Did you see McGregor’s tweet? The retirement tweet? I’m retired, birthday cake retired,” White noted in an interview yesterday with Jeffrey Harris posted on 411mania.com.
McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh, yesterday confirmed that there are talks between the camps of the Irishman and the Filipino world champion to fight in an exhibition match sometime next year.
“I do know it is in the works. I believe both boxers have agreed fundamentally,” Kavanagh said in an article posted on the website the score.com written by Nick Baldwin, quoting the coach’s interview aired on Boxing Productions TV.
“I believe both boxers have agreed fundamentally. Now, behind the scenes, there’s a lot of terms and conditions, and legal teams and managers have to work out the fine details,” the coach said.