As days passed by, it is becoming definitive that Manny Pacquiao is all in for a fight versus UFC star Conor McGregor being organized by a group somewhere in the Middle East.
Whether it will be an exhibition or a sanctioned boxing bout is still unclear.
Pacquiao was quoted recently that he wanted to experience fighting a mixed martial artist but in a boxing match as Floyd Mayweather, Jr. did back in 2017 against the same McGregor.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor fight attracted 4.3 million pay per views and generated hundreds millions of dollars making it the second highest grossing boxing match in history, next only to the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight in 2015.
According to Wikipedia, Mayweather reportedly earned $280 million and McGregor $130 million, substantially more than their guaranteed $100 million and $30 million, respectively.
Obviously, the expected financial bonanza is also one of the main interests of Pacquiao in committing himself to this fight.
But there are differences in the case of Floyd and Manny vis-a-vis McGregor.
Mayweather who had retired in late 2015 had chosen McGregor as his supposed comeback fight. He was so convincing in his so called second unretirement that both the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Commission sanctioned the fight as an official boxing match.
But in the fight aftermath, after scooping much of the take, Floyd retired from boxing once again while McGregor returned to mixed martial arts.
This drew criticism from fans and experts alike that the fight was a sham and no more than a money grab.
Pacquiao is an active boxer who holds a major world title as the WBA welterweight super champion. He won the crown from American Keith Thurman in July 2019 but has not seen action since being involved in possible unification and later encumbered as he was like most boxers by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There appears to be no problem as to who will host and bankroll the Pacquiao-McGregor fight but the question is, will it be an exhibition or a sanctioned boxing match? If it will be a regular boxing bout, who will sanction it?
The most important question is, will the WBA stand out of the way and allow Pacquiao to participate in such match?
Remember that the WBA designated Pacquiao to challenge for its regular belt against then reigning and defending Argentine champion Lucas Matthysse in 2018. Winning the title, the WBA sanctioned Pacquiao’s defense of the same title against American challenger Adrien Broner in early 2019.
The WBA then ordered its come-backing super champion Thurman to defend his belt against Pacquiao in a fight in July 2019 which Manny won, thus becoming the organization’s super champion.
As stated, the WBA has not obligated Pacquiao to defend his title since July 2019 in view of the possibility of Manny being involved in any unification against WBC-IBF champion Errol Spence or WBO titlist Terrence Crawford.
A Pacquiao vs. Crawford unification fight was reportedly in the works for mid 2020 until the Covid-19 pandemic got in the way.
Pacquiao has not committed himself to any new title unification initiatives nor planned to defend his title against any challenger pending the designation of WBA of one which the WBA has not done—yet.
The question therefore is, will the WBA adopt a hands off policy and allow Pacquiao to fight McGregor first before obliging him to either unify or make a title defense?
Or will the WBA oblige Pacquiao to make a long overdue first title defense of its super belt against either its regular titlist, Cuban Yordenis Ugas, interim titlist Mexican Vergil Ortiz or top rated contenders, Americans Jamal James or Mikey Garcia? With the threat of stripping the super belt from him in failing to do so.
Or will the WBA sanction the Pacquiao-McGregor fight as a regular non title bout to gain at least from it by way of a sanction fee?
The WBA as a factor in this planned Pacquaio-McGregor fight cannot be overlooked.