Manny, money, McGregor

Conor McGregor is 32 years old and hails from Dublin, Ireland. He stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 170 lbs. 

Manny Pacquiao will turn 42 this Dec. 17. He calls Gen. Santos City home, stands 5-foot-6 and weighs no more than 145 lbs.

Conor is a mixed martial artist. He was the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champ. He employs kickboxing and a mixture of Capoeira, Karate and Taekwondo and holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Manny is a former congressman and now Philippine senator. He can’t do a triangle choke, elbow strike or submit the enemy via a kimura or guillotine choke. He is boxing’s only eight-division world champ.

Conor’s performance stage is called an Octagon. It has double the number of sides compared to the boxing ring used by Manny.

On paper, the Irishman and the Filipino have no business doing boxing business. Yet, here they are, generating buzz with talk of a mega-fight. Will this bout prosper?

First, it’s not guaranteed yet. Conor has one of the loudest mouths in all of sports and his tweet yesterday (“I’m boxing Manny Pacquaiao next in the Middle East”) is both hype and hyperbole. Negotiations are underway and he wants to jumpstart the frenzy by announcing what’s yet to be confirmed.

Second, I have to admit: this is exciting. In this year of COVID-19 (shouldn’t the name be COVID-20, so we’ll forever attach it to 2020?), this MP-CM bout provides a thrill.

The Notorious is the superstar of superstars in MMA. Of the top six highest-grossing pay-per-views in UFC history, five of those involve Conor, including the No.1: UFC 229 when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov. That garnered 2.4 million PPV buys. His boxing gig against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (catchweight: 154 lbs.) drew 4.3 million PPV buys — history’s second-highest.

Pacman is not to be outboxed. His 4.6 million PPV buys against Mayweather trumps McGregor’s and takes the No. 1 spot in PPV history. According to Forbes magazine, the 24 PPV bouts of Pacquiao’s career have generated 20 million buys and a mind-boggling $1.25 billion in revenue. 

Money, Manny, money. This is what this extravaganza is all about. Consider these preposterous figures. In the May 2015 event when Manny faced Money at the MGM Grand Garden Arena dubbed “Fight of the Century,” Mayweather earned $250M while Pacquiao took home (before taxes) $150M. 

Two years later in Floyd vs. Conor’s “The Money Fight,” Mayweather made $275M against the $85M for McGregor. Just on two bouts, the three fighters amassed a gross paycheck of $760M (or P38 billion).

McGregor vs. Pacquiao? Easily $50M per boxer. 

Who will win? As always, it depends who you ask.

“Manny will destroy Conor McGregor inside three rounds,” said MP’s coach Justin Fortune. “He will obliterate him too fast and too strong as an amazing fighter. McGregor is nothing.”

The betting odds agree. Since the news came out, Pacquiao is a -450 favorite. This means that to win $100, you have to bet $450 on MP. At the other side, McGregor is +325. You get $325 for a $100 bet.

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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