Despite assurances from both parties that the fight is indeed going to happen, the status of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor is still up in the air. A backup option appears to be on the table for McGregor if the Mayweather fight doesn’t happen, at least if you believe the word of Manny Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum.
Arum spoke with TMZ about what it takes to negotiate with Mayweather’s camp and was asked whether his guy would step up to the challenge if McGregor decided he wanted to fight another boxer. Although Pacquiao is committed to a fight in July already, Arum says once that’s done, anything is on the table.
“After that fight on July 1st,” says Arum, “if McGregor is still looking for an opponent, Manny Pacquiao is there.”
Pacquiao is a nice fallback option, but the public’s desire for that fight would be nowhere near what it is to see Mayweather and McGregor get in the ring. Mayweather is semi-retired, and putting his undefeated professional record on the line to fight another boisterous shit-talker is a massive part of the appeal. He also dusted Pacquiao when their fight finally ended up happening, and fight fans don’t want to settle for a second-rate version of what they want.
There are several hurdles to clear for Mayweather-McGregor to become a reality, however. The World Boxing Association, one of the largest sanctioning bodies for the sport, recently said they will not be part of the fight. WBA President Gilberto Mendoza considers the fight an “exhibition,” and doesn’t think it would be good for boxing to back the matchup as an official fight.
Mayweather also has to agree to terms, and his camp is pretty notorious for being tough to work with at the negotiation table. While it has paid off for Mayweather himself—he didn’t become one of the richest athletes ever by accident—it also led to long delays between fights, most notably in his battle with Pacquiao. Whether it’s truly driven by money or a ploy to duck opponents until they’re vulnerable, Mayweather is no stranger to playing mind games outside the ring.
In any case, it looks like McGregor will be able to make his boxing wish come true with or without Mayweather. For the sake of the sport, let’s hope he doesn’t have to resort to a backup plan.