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Manny Pacquiao: Conor McGregor underestimated Dustin Poirier in UFC 257 rematch

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Manny Pacquiao v Miguel Cotto Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Conor McGregor took his loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 pretty well on the surface, but you know he’s gotta be steamed about the defeat scuttling another big money boxing bout with Manny Pacquiao. You’ve got to roll a whole bunch of tangential figures like general sponsorship and whiskey sales into McGregor’s UFC paydays to get them looking even halfway as juicy as the Floyd Mayweather purse. Now a similar nine figure fight with Pacquiao is all but dead.

“It looked like Conor looked past Dustin and got knocked out,” Manny Pacquiao Promotions president Sean Gibbons said following the fight (via BoxingScene). “Maybe he had the Senator on his mind.”

“I think the demand for the fight is not there presently,” he continued. “Conor has some business to clean up and handle in the UFC. It’s a bummer, it could have been fun for as long as it lasted and know leg kicks would have made a world of difference.”

Pacquiao himself was relatively classy with his statement to ABS-CBN News (especially compared to Floyd Mayweather), but the consensus was the same: McGregor didn’t take Poirier seriously enough and it cost him big.

“Losing is part of the game,” Pacquiao said. “In sport there are winners and losers, that’s all. It is not about defeat, but about how you accept defeat in your life: how you get over that difficult time in your life. McGregor had already beaten his rival before and I think that made him underestimate him.”

All signs and statements point towards Pacquiao moving on from the McGregor fight, with the new hype battle being against rising star Ryan Garcia. Everyone is talking about the bout ... except, apparently, McGregor’s management company Paradigm Sports, which signed an exclusive deal with Pacquiao in February 2020 to manage the Filipino boxer and senator.

“The boxing industry has a history of shady characters being involved,” Paradigm president Audie Attar wrote in an official statement. “These individuals introduce confusion and spread false rumors solely for their own interests. Unfortunately, this only ends up hurting the fighters. It has come to our attention that some of these individuals are once again spreading false and inaccurate rumors that are self-serving without the authority of Senator Pacquiao or Paradigm Sports.”

“Senator Pacquiao engaged Paradigm Sports as his exclusive representatives last year because he wants to close out the final chapters of his historic boxing career in a meaningful way. No one outside of Paradigm Sports is involved in any way with the management of Senator Pacquiao’s boxing career at this time. Anyone falsely representing themselves as Senator Pacquiao’s manager or representative as it relates to his remaining fight career may face legal repercussions.”

It’s a bit of an odd statement to have to put out, and it makes us wonder whether there really are completely unauthorized parties trying to put Pacquiao vs. Garcia together or if Paradigm is just out of the loop now that their man McGregor is no longer Manny’s next opponent.

The initial buzz did look like it could have come as part of a Garcia publicity stunt, but once the public and media enthusiastically picked up on the fight things seemed to get serious fast. There’s been so much smoke at this point, something is obviously going on.

It just doesn’t involve Conor McGregor at all.