Paradigm Sports Management announced the signing of Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday, adding the champion boxer to a roster that already includes UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
The signing amplified speculation that McGregor might head to the boxing ring again to face Pacquiao, a potential crossover fight that has been discussed recently.
Pacquiao Welcomed by McGregor
The announcement noted that Pacquiao would bring over his existing promotional team to partner with Paradigm.
“I am proud to partner with Paradigm Sports Management and am excited for the opportunities that [CEO] Audie Attar and PSM have to offer,” Pacquiao said via a statement. “One thing I want everyone to remember is to always think positively. Never think negatively; that is the beginning of your downfall. Everything is possible.”
The 41-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) remains one of the top boxers in the welterweight division. He has won world titles in eight different weight classes over the course of his career, the only fighter ever to accomplish that feat. He currently holds the WBA welterweight title, having won it in a split decision victory over Keith Thurman last July.
Crossover Fights Could Generate Big Bucks
McGregor celebrated the signing on Twitter, welcoming Pacquiao to the team while referring to him by his full first name, Emmanuel.
Welcome to the team Emmanuel. https://t.co/VnFsahczo5
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 11, 2020
McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in one of the most lucrative boxing matches of all time. Mayweather finished McGregor via a 10th-round TKO in that 2017 fight, after the undefeated boxer dominated the vast majority of the fight.
McGregor says he’s still interested in returning to the boxing ring despite that defeat. Last month, the former UFC champion told Ariel Helwani that he would be open to a rematch with Mayweather, or that Pacquiao could also make a suitable opponent for a big-money fight.
“We’re actually close to signing Manny,” McGregor said at the time. “There’s been talks about the Manny fight as well.”
McGregor also has his UFC future to consider. In terms of MMA, McGregor recently showed he’s still an elite fighter. He clobbered Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone last month, getting a win by TKO in just 40 seconds in his return to the Octagon.
While Khabib Nurmagomedov’s camp has said the current lightweight champion has no interest in a rematch vs. McGregor, there are any number of other candidates for the Irishman’s next bout, including Jorge Masvidal or welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Pacquiao may still want to get a rematch with Mayweather. The two met in the ring back in 2015, with Mayweather winning a relatively easy decision in a fight most derided as boring. However, that fight remains the highest-grossing bout in combat sports history, with the McGregor vs. Mayweather fight coming in second on that list.
However, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) has said that he is retired from boxing. The 43-year-old has not fought since the win over McGregor in August 2017.