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Conor McGregor signs for UFC return in January, Pacquiao fight back on the shelf

Pacquiao-McGregor will, at the least, have to wait.

McGregor v Cerrone Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Despite serious talk in September from both Conor McGregor and Manny Pacquiao about doing a boxing match in 2021, and Pacquiao signing a new deal with Paradigm Sports in October that seemed to make it inevitable, Pacquiao-McGregor will have to wait.

The 32-year-old McGregor has announced that he’s signed for a rematch with Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Jan. 23, 2021, meaning the Pacquiao idea is at the very least being put back on the shelf.

Pacquiao, who turns 42 in about a month, hasn’t fought since July 2019, when he took the WBA welterweight title from Keith Thurman and re-established himself as a top welterweight and still a legitimate contender for the mythical pound-for-pound top 10 lists.

This news from the McGregor side definitely doesn’t mean the idea is dead, just that it won’t be happening in the first quarter, at least, of 2021. It could certainly happen in about a year’s time. Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO) is a part-time fighter at this point, he’s a Senator in the Philippines, may have even bigger political aspirations than that, and he’s also, you know, old. He’s going to pick and choose his spots to fight, if he fights anymore.

Now the good news, depending on your perspective, is this could mean that talks for a fight with WBO titleholder Terence Crawford could be picked up seriously. Crawford and Top Rank do have their issues right now, but it definitely doesn’t seem so bad that it can’t be worked out, and if there’s money somewhere and a good deal to be made, then the fight is certainly possible for the spring or summer of next year. We know very well that Crawford (37-0, 28 KO) wants that fight, and has wanted it for years.

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