Conor McGregor claimed he was set to fight Manny Pacquiao in the Middle East in his next outing.

McGregor, a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion, sensationally retired in June, but it was hinted earlier this month that the Irishman would return next year.

After a long Twitter rant during which he vented his frustration at a lack of action this year – his only fight has been a win over Donald Cerrone in January – McGregor said he was set for a return to boxing.

McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August 2017 and is now set to meet 41-year-old Filipino Pacquiao.

"I'm boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East," he wrote.

"It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight."

Pacquiao (62-7-2) fought twice last year, winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Jose Ramirez is motivated by the prospect of facing some of the biggest names in boxing as he plots a move to welterweight - but not before he has a unification showdown with Josh Taylor.

The reigning WBC and WBO light-welterweight champion, Ramirez defends his titles on Saturday when he takes on experienced challenger Viktor Postol in Las Vegas.

It is a bout that looks set to finally go ahead at the third attempt, as initial dates in February and May were scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponements have seen Ramirez inactive for over a year, yet the Californian says the time since his impressive stoppage win over Maurice Hooker in July 2019 has gone by like a "blur".

While he must deal with Postol first, the 28-year-old is already plotting ahead as he targets Scotsman Taylor, who currently holds the WBA and IBF titles, and is willing to travel to make it happen.

"I do want that fight, for sure. That's the fight I want next. That's still my plan," Ramirez told Stats Perform News. 

"Not to be insincere, I know he has a mandatory late September so if the fight doesn't happen this year, it could happen early next year.   

"Now, as far as the venue, I would be excited to go to the United Kingdom and fight there. I would be more than happy and motivated to do that.  

"I think it would be lovely for me to be able to showcase my talent in front of a whole different crowd, different fans. I would be willing to do that, whatever it takes for the fight to happen and wherever it's going to bring the most momentum."

Whenever and wherever the Taylor fight takes place, Ramirez acknowledged that he has a limited amount of time left at the 10-stone limit. A switch to welterweight not only makes life easier on the scales but also opens up a number of lucrative possibilities, too. 

Terence Crawford holds the WBO title, while Errol Spence Jr has the IBF and WBC belts. Then there is the legendary Manny Pacquiao, who sits in the position of 'super' champion with the WBA. 

"I think there's two more fights at 140 [the light-welterweight limit], hopefully, and then I move to 147," Ramirez said when asked about his long-term future. 

"It's time for me to let my body grow and see how much I can develop and let my power also develop and put some extra mass and be a bigger fighter that I know I can be.   

"If it's Terence Crawford or any other champion, my goal will be to become a world champion at 147 as well." 

He added: "I think those things motivate me the most. So, two more fights and I will be happy to make that move to 147, especially if I fight Josh Taylor for all four belts.   

"There wouldn't be any reason to stay at 140. I know there's some good 135-pounders out there, but nothing motivates me [more] than the names Crawford, Pacquaio, Spence – those types of champions. 

"I know if I let my body grow, I know I could be a much better 147-pounder than a 140-pounder."

Promoter Bob Arum has revealed a fight between Terence Crawford and Manny Pacquiao could still be on the cards, potentially before the end of 2020.

A bout between the two has long been talked about but has failed to materialise, though Top Rank boss Arum has raised hopes over what would be a lucrative showdown.

WBO welterweight champion Crawford plans to be in action before the end of the year after twice defending his title in 2019, recording stoppage victories over Amir Khan and Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

A unification clash with Pacquiao, who holds the WBA 'Super' title, is a possibility, albeit "nothing is concrete" as negotiations continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Pacquiao fight, obviously we'd like to do it," Arum – who promotes Crawford – told BoxingScene.com.

"Whether we can do it, how we can do it, that's what we're figuring out now.

"Obviously, if it can happen it'll happen, and if it can't happen, it won't happen. But nothing is concrete on that. We hope we can do it. We're trying, but this is not a usual situation."

Whether it is Pacquiao next remains to be seen, but Crawford has been told to be ready for action in November.

Kell Brook, the former IBF champion, has also been rumoured as a potential option for 'Bud', who boasts an unblemished 36-fight record in the paid ranks.

"We told Terence that he's scheduled to fight in November," Arum added.

"If it can't be Pacquiao for various reasons, then we'll match him with somebody else. But we told Terence to prepare for mid-November, whether it's November 14 or 21."

Terence Crawford is likely to return to the ring in September or October and a fight against Manny Pacquiao is the preferred option, says his promoter Bob Arum.

American Crawford, who is the WBO welterweight champion and undefeated in 36 career bouts, ideally wishes to return when spectators are allowed back into venues once the coronavirus pandemic has eased sufficiently.

Pacquiao, 41, was previously a Top Rank fighter like Crawford but did not face him during that period.

His last fight was a split decision victory over Keith Thurman in July 2019, while Crawford, who is seeking a high-profile contest, stopped Egidijus Kavaliauskas in December.

The other options to fight Crawford are Kell Brook, Yordenis Ugas, Shawn Porter and Thurman.

"We're going to have Terence fight in September, or October, period," Arum said, per ESPN.

"We're looking to either match him with Pacquiao, Kell Brook, Ugas or Porter."

Of facing Pacquiao, Arum added to talkSPORT: "That's the opponent that I would most like Terence to fight, and I think he would.

"Now, that requires a lot of money and we've had proposals from the Mid-East. 

"I don't know whether the Mid-East venues will allow spectators this year, they may not allow it until there's a vaccine. That is the problem.

"We're hamstrung because none of these [venues] want to commit to a fight this year because of the coronavirus.

"Otherwise, we have to look for Terence Crawford to fight a major welterweight. There are a number that are possibilities. Thurman, Porter or this kid Ugas, the Cuban who is a good, good welterweight.

"They're with Al [Haymon's] company PBC, but we're working well together with that company, so I don't think that'll be a problem.

"And then finally there is Kell Brook, whose management contacts me on almost a weekly basis.

"So the first possibility is Pacquiao, if that's possible. Second possibility is a fight against one of Al's guys. And the third possibility is Kell Brook if we can get him in the United States."

Manny Pacquiao has suggested Floyd Mayweather Jr is jealous of his prolonged career after the American labelled the veteran welterweight an "old man".

Mayweather was critical of younger fighters "chasing" a bout with 41-year-old Pacquiao, who won his most recent fight against the previously-undefeated Keith Thurman to claim the WBA super welterweight title last July.

However, Pacquiao has little regard for Mayweather's comments, claiming the 43-year-old, who last fought in 2017 against UFC star Conor McGregor, wishes he was still fighting.

"He is just envious because he's already retired. We're still active and have a crown," Pacquiao told The Manila Times.

"I'm not thinking about that yet. I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen. No retirement [plans] yet. I'm still training, God is good."

With the majority of sporting events currently on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pacquiao – who is also a senator in the Philippines government – is focused on helping his country's people during the crisis. 

"I'm concerned first and foremost about our countrymen and about how to resolve this [coronavirus] pandemic," he added.

One could argue Manchester United have still not recovered from the departure of the great Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson quit after leading United to the 2012-13 Premier League title, the 13th of his reign and their 20th in total. He won the Champions League twice, too.

United have toiled in the intervening years, unable to replace one of sport's all-time finest leaders.

The announcement of Ferguson's exit came on May 8, 2013, allowing us to reflect on that news among other notable sporting events on this day.
 

2004 - Controversy as Marquez makes recovery

Few boxers are able to recover from the sort of first-round barrage Manny Pacquiao inflicted upon Juan Manuel Marquez in their 2004 featherweight title fight.

And, as it turned out, Marquez should not have been able to either.

The Mexican was sent to the canvas three times before the first round was up and, although he subsequently outboxed Pacquiao, Marquez would have narrowly lost but for a scoring error.

Burt Clements judged the bout 113-113, prompting a draw as Guy Jutras and John Stewart went 115-110 each way. But Clements scored the opening round 10-7 to Pacquiao, rather than 10-6, and later acknowledged: "I screwed up."

Pacquiao had to wait almost four years to defeat Marquez - again by split decision - before another disputed verdict went in his favour in 2011. A year later in their fourth encounter, Marquez took the judges out of the equation with a brutal sixth-round knockout of his great rival.
 

2013 - Ferguson leaves a champion

Having suffered final-day pain at the hands of rivals Manchester City in 2011-12, Ferguson made sure to bow out on a high with the 2012-13 Premier League crown.

After 26 years at the helm, the Scot confirmed his departure on May 8 - this time not backtracking on this decision as he had in 2001.

David Moyes and Jose Mourinho were among the early favourites to replace Ferguson, with the former appointed on the outgoing manager's recommendation.

Moyes' stint was short and unsuccessful, though, and neither Louis van Gaal, Mourinho nor now Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been able to add to United's tally of 20 top-flight championships.
 

2014 - Beckham and Donald arrive in NFL

It is six years since some of the most prominent names in the NFL were drafted, with Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Donald both selected in 2014.

Beckham went to the New York Giants with the 12th pick, establishing himself as a star at wide receiver before moving on to the Cleveland Browns last year.

Donald is now a two-time Defensive Player of the Year but then followed one pick after Beckham, going to the St Louis Rams. Khalil Mack was another standout at number five.

But the first overall pick was used by the Houston Texans to secure Jadeveon Clowney. Traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, the defensive end is now a free agent looking to put persistent injury troubles behind him.
 

2019 - Another Champions League classic

Just 24 hours after Liverpool stunned Barcelona with a 4-3 aggregate semi-final win, the 2018-19 Champions League was at it again.

Tottenham looked down and out when Matthijs de Ligt and Hakim Ziyech netted for Ajax to add to their 1-0 first-leg lead, with Mauricio Pochettino's men needing three goals in Amsterdam.

However, Lucas Moura netted twice in the space of five second-half minutes, and Spurs kept pushing deep into stoppage time.

With 96 minutes on the clock, Moura struck once more to seal his hat-trick and Tottenham's place alongside Liverpool in the final, leaving a previously inspired young Ajax side bruised and beaten on the turf.

When it comes to whetting the appetite for the big event through a combination of chicanery, politicking and delaying tactics, boxing is a sport in a league of its own.

But, while most leading promoters view their abilities to let an anticipated bout "marinate" as something akin to an art, frustration among fans generally sets in long before the fights they want to happen come to fruition.

Floyd Mayweather Jr's unanimous points win over Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas five years ago today is a case in point.

Talk of pound-for-pound king Mayweather taking on Pacquiao first emerged when the Filipino sensation jumped two weight classes to batter a shopworn Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008. The intervening period did Pacquiao and the sport itself few favours.

As the list below shows, it takes a special fight to handle the weight of such expectation.

JOE FRAZIER v MUHAMMAD ALI I (MARCH 8, 1971)

We can't really blame promoters for the wait for this one, as Ali endured an enforced three-and-a-half-year ring absence following a refusal to be drafted for the Vietnam War. In his absence, Frazier became a formidable heavyweight champion in his own right and, four years on from his previous title defence, Ali had the chance to regain his title at an expectant Madison Square Garden.

Was it worth the wait?

Absolutely. It takes a special fight to live up to and surpass the promotional banner of 'The Fight of the Century'. This was special. Ali's quicksilver skills were to the fore early on but Frazier was typically unrelenting and turned the tide on 'The Greatest'. A signature left hook shook Ali to his boots in round 11 and another put him on the seat of his shorts during a dramatic final round. Frazier won a unanimous points verdict and the most riveting rivalry in boxing history was on the road to the gripping and horrifying brutality of its final act in Manila.

MARVIN HAGLER v TOMMY HEARNS (APRIL 15, 1985)

Middleweight king Hagler was slated to face Hearns three years earlier before the latter suffered a hand injury. A delay became a cancellation, something that left simmering animosity within Hagler. That was stoked by a press tour of 21 cities to promote 'The War'. Enough was enough and, when the first bell sounded at Caesars Palace, the two men promptly set about trying to take each other's heads off.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes, yes and thrice yes. The eight minutes of unruly mayhem Hagler and Hearns shared together are frequently cited as the best fight of all time and serve as a barometer against which all other pretentions for boxing entertainment are measured. The first round remains scarcely believable as both men unloaded a torrent of heavy shots. Both were hurt, Hagler was cut badly but the exertions took more out of Hearns, who was unable to beat the count when 'Marvelous' deposited his exhausted frame on the canvas a minute into round three.

LENNOX LEWIS v MIKE TYSON (JUNE 8, 2002)

After sparring as teenagers, Lewis was unlikely to have anticipated both he and Tyson would be approaching 40 by the time they met in a professional ring. But the Briton's first reign as heavyweight champion coincided with Tyson's prison sentence for rape, while he won the title for a second time against an Evander Holyfield with infamously diminished ears following a rematch with 'Iron Mike'. Throw in both men being on either side of the HBO and Showtime pay-per-view divide, Lewis' shock loss to Hasim Rahman and Tyson biting his foe at the initial media event and it's a wonder their Memphis meeting ever came to pass.

Was it worth the wait?

Lewis will certainly think so because it left him emphatically as the last man standing from a great heavyweight era, with nothing left to prove. However, Tyson was a far cry from the 'Baddest Man on the Planet' by this stage and offered little after a moderately encouraging first round. There was even a sense of Lewis propping him up until the round-eight finale to prolong the punishment. In hindsight, Lewis scrambling through adversity against a prime Vitali Klitschko next time out stands as a better achievement, while Tyson was on his way to back-to-back losses against Danny Williams and Kevin McBride and a sorry career end.

BERNARD HOPKINS v ROY JONES JR (APRIL 3, 2010)

Waiting 17 years and the duration of a record-breaking run as middleweight champion for revenge would drive most men insane. Hopkins is not most men. During their initial fight in 1993, Jones befuddled him over 12 rounds. Both would go on to achieve greatness but stay away from one another's orbits for almost two decades.

Was it worth the wait?

Like Lewis, Hopkins took huge satisfaction from this redemptive triumph. But the wily veteran's age-defying exploits at the end of his career were often more enjoyable on paper than they were in the ring. A defensive master to frustrate the best, Hopkins in his 40s was never particularly easy on the eye. And, while the Philadelphia great extended his peak impressively, Jones' best days were far back in the rear-view mirror. Either side of this fractious, foul-stained encounter, he was knocked out by Danny Green and Denis Lebedev.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR v MANNY PACQUIAO (MAY 2, 2015)

As the sport's biggest draw, Mayweather was a master at making sure he fought the best on his terms at a time of his choosing. Did the Pacquiao who scythed through Ricky Hatton and beat up Miguel Cotto in 2009 represent too much of a risk? Nine fights and five years later, 'Pacman' was yet to record another stoppage and had been brutally knocked out by his nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. The Money Team were ready to do business.

Was it worth the wait?

Mayweather was truly masterful here, perplexing Pacquiao and running out a clear winner. However, a brilliant performance does not necessarily make for a brilliant contest – a near constant during Mayweather's peerless late career. The prospect of Pacquiao throwing fewer punches than his rival would have been unfathomable five years earlier, when this contest would have been far more competitive and rewarding.

GENNADIY GOLOVKIN v SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ I (SEPTEMBER 16, 2017)

Mayweather's astute timing of when to box an opponent was also evident when he schooled a greenhorn Alvarez in 2013. The Mexican pretender to his pound-for-pound crown was paying attention. Middleweight title wins against Cotto and Amir Khan came at catchweights below the 160lb limit before he stepped down a division to dethrone Liam Smith as opposed to facing Golovkin, who was busy standing a succession of full-fledged middleweights on their heads. After an all-Mexican grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, the time was right.

Was it worth the wait?

Yes - a big drama show! Canelo and GGG served up 12 rounds of high-skilled, pulsating action and soaked up one another's best shots – a particular novelty for any Golovkin opponent. Few doubted the Kazakh superstar had done enough to take the verdict on the cards but a split decision draw meant they were obliged to reconvene in Las Vegas a year later. That time another disputed decision in an even better fight went Alvarez's way and a third encounter is in the works.

Good things come to those who wait, right? Well, that is not always the case in boxing, as demonstrated when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao finally met on May 2, 2015.

The bout was dubbed 'Fight Of The Century', a do-not-miss battle between two long-time rivals that had been brewing for years (and years).

Instead, the main event fell a little flat, failing to live up to the hype – hardly surprising, considering for how long it had been talked about – with Mayweather emerging victorious by unanimous decision after 12 rounds in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao left the ring that night at the MGM Grand with a sore shoulder and a bruised ego. The long-awaited opportunity had rather passed him by - at 36, and with a career in politics already lined up, his future as a fighter was unclear.

Yet while Mayweather only fought once more before initially retiring – 'Money' made a comeback to face Conor McGregor for a lucrative meeting that moved his career record to 50-0 – Pac-Man is still going strong, overcoming an unexpected setback to prove his doubters wrong.

 

THE LAST HURRAH...OR NOT

Nearly a year after the Mayweather fight, Pacquiao returned to action to face a familiar foe in what he claimed beforehand would be his boxing swansong.

"I'm so happy to be hanging up the gloves after this fight because of what I have done," he told the media ahead of facing Timothy Bradley for a third time. “I'm sure I will be sad after that fight. That's life.”

Pac-Man had his eyes on becoming a senator in the Philippines, but did not look beyond Bradley, who had won their first meeting via a controversial split-decision verdict, back in 2012.

Pacquiao had prevailed in a 2014 rematch and also came out on top in the final episode of their trilogy, dropping his opponent twice on his way to a points triumph.  

That was meant to be that, except before the end of 2016 he was back between the ropes again. Jessie Vargas was no match as Mayweather watched his former opponent from close quarters at ringside, adding fuel to talk of a rematch.

Victory secured the WBO welterweight title for Pacquiao, who demonstrated that despite being just shy of his 38th birthday, he still had plenty left to give. "He's not done fighting yet," said trainer Freddie Roach.

 

AN ALMIGHTY UPSET

Jeff Horn was due to be nothing more than a stepping stone. The Australian nearly missed his big opportunity – Pacquiao at one point seemed set to face former gym-mate Amir Khan instead – but had home advantage on his side. It was one of the few things experts felt he had going in his favour.

However, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane witnessed the mother of all upsets in July 2017, in part thanks to some questionable scoring.

Horn did more than just surpass pre-fight expectations just by making it to the final bell, though. He showed a willingness to stand and trade with a legendary name, as well as coming through a ninth-round storm that looked at one stage certain to sweep him away.

He finished strongly too, but it was still a surprise to most when the challenger was declared a unanimous winner on all three cards. The verdict raised serious questions over the judges' scoring, as well as Pacquiao's future in the sport.

The WBO conducted a review into the outcome at the behest of the Philippines government, but a secondary check only vindicated the original outcome.

 

CALL IT A COMEBACK

If there were doubts over what Pacquiao had left in the tank after losing to Horn, he has emphatically quashed them since.

A year after the unexpected setback Down Under, and with Roach replaced by Restituto 'Buboy' Fernandez in his corner, a refreshed and focused fighter stopped the heavy-handed Lucas Matthysse in the seventh round in Kuala Lumpur.

Having claimed before the first bell to be the underdog, Pac-Man dissected an opponent admittedly there for the taking, knocking him down in the third and fifth rounds before a left uppercut finished the job. "I'm still here," he said afterwards, as if a first stoppage win in nearly a decade had not made that point.

After Adrien Broner managed to go the distance to lose on points in January 2019, Pacquiao gave a demonstration of his abilities when dealing with Keith Thurman just six months later.

The Filipino dropped Thurman in the first round on his way to a split-decision outcome that showed, despite this being the 71st outing as a professional, he remains at the top table in a packed welterweight division.

Mayweather may have nullified him astutely five years ago, but Pacquiao's late resurgence suggests Father Time cannot quite get the better of him just yet.

Even at 41, there are still a few chapters to be written before closing the book on a storied career.

Amir Khan has admitted it would take a fight against either Floyd Mayweather Jr or Manny Pacquiao to motivate him to make a ring return.

The former light-welterweight world champion has had 39 bouts in a professional career which began in 2005, the last of them being a stoppage win over Billy Dib in July 2019.

While he has faced pound-for-pound candidates Saul Alvarez and Terence Crawford in recent years, Khan has made no secret of his desire to go up against both Mayweather and Pacquiao before retiring, two legendary names he has chased in the past without success.

At 33, he has still not given up hope of securing a deal to take on one of the duo, though they are seemingly the only opponents that could lead to him heading back into the gym.

"I've almost had 40 fights now, so I'm just going to take my time and see what options are out there for me," Khan told Sky Sports.

"If the Pacquiao option is there, 100 per cent that is the motivation for me to go back in the gym and train hard. 

"It's very hard to have those fights now that motivate you. I'm in a very good position where I've won the world titles and financially I'm good.

"What's left out there for me? The only thing, for me, is a big fight like a Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao.

"Who knows [if such fights will happen]? That's up to them."

Khan's comments appear to rule out a long-rumoured showdown with Kell Brook, who said himself in April that he had "given that angle up" and moved on.

After more than half a decade of wait, baiting, claim and counter-claim, the boxing world finally got the fight it desired on May 2, 2015 when Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao met in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao was unable to stain his fellow great's immaculate professional record as Mayweather did what late-career Mayweather always did: assessed the puzzle, solved the puzzle and banked rounds, all the while caring little about perceptions of how entertaining he was.

After Pacquiao, there was nothing left to prove or achieve for Mayweather, as evidenced by his final two bouts against Andre Berto and Conor McGregor – outings that were respectively pointless and farcical.

Questions will always linger of what might have happened had Pacquiao met Mayweather somewhere closer to his 2009-10 zenith, but there can be little doubt that 'Money' settled the argument over who the outstanding fighter of the 21st century to date is.

So, where does that blockbusting win rank among his best victories?

10) ZAB JUDAH (APRIL 2006, 12 UD)

Mayweather's bid to become a four-weight world champion at welterweight got off to a rocky start against fellow brash-talking American Judah, with a right hook in the second forcing him to touch down. No knockdown was called and Mayweather assumed typically smooth control thereafter. Judah's frustrations boiled over in round 10 with a low blow that sparked an in-ring melee featuring Floyd's uncle Roger Mayweather and Judah's father Yoel

9) JESUS CHAVEZ (NOVEMBER 2001, 9 RTD)

At odds with his latter run in the 147lb and 154lb divisions, Mayweather's outings in the lighter weights were often all-action affairs. This barnstormer against Chavez was a case in point, with his formidable Mexican foe maniacally throwing 925 punches in pursuit of the WBC super-featherweight title. Mayweather landed 197 of 456 and that greater efficiency persuaded Chavez's trainer Ronnie Shields to end the fight after round nine, telling his man: "You're getting hit too much now".

8) SHANE MOSLEY (MAY 2010, 12 UD)

Never did Mayweather look closer to defeat than in a torrid second round against bitter rival Mosley, wearing two huge right hands. The second of those saw his knees buckle but he stayed upright and won every remaining round on two of the three judges' scorecards.

7) JOSE LUIS CASTILLO (DECEMBER 2002, 12 UD)

The biggest question mark against Mayweather's unbeaten record is his initial fight with Mexican pressure fighter Castillo, with the WBC lightweight champion's unanimous verdict on the scorecards a controversial outcome for many. The scores were actually closer on paper second time around but Mayweather came through another stern examination impressively. "I never figured him out," Castillo conceded afterwards. "I think he fought a more intelligent fight this time. I never felt I did anything this time."

6) RICKY HATTON (DECEMBER 2007, 10 TKO)

Someone's 0 had to go in Las Vegas and it was Hatton's barmy army of Brits who left the MGM Grand Garden Arena disappointed if suitably refreshed as Mayweather surgically took apart the Mancunian hero in this mega fight. A straight Hatton right had the WBC welterweight champion staggering backwards in round one but the writing had long been on the wall by the time Mayweather drilled his man into the ringpost before a second knockdown of round 10 closed the show.

5) SAUL 'CANELO' ALVAREZ (SEPTEMBER 2013, 12 MD)

Another criticism of Mayweather was a tendency to stack the deck unnecessarily high in his favour, with the demand for Alvarez to shave an additional two pounds off his thick-set frame for this WBC light-middleweight showdown a prime example. Regardless, this was a sublime showing as the master put on a boxing clinic for the apprentice. CJ Ross' 114-114 scorecard was as baffling and unnecessary as Mayweather's vast supercar collection.

4) OSCAR DE LA HOYA (MAY 2007, 12 SD)

Setting the template for his late-career run, Mayweather frustrated the more aggressive De La Hoya to pot shot his way to a points win and become a five-weight world champion. He collected the WBC light-middleweight belt in a bout that, at the time, was the richest in boxing history. A baton was passed in terms of who was American's pay-per-view superstar – it was the night 'Pretty Boy Floyd' became 'Money'.

3) MIGUEL COTTO (MAY 2012, 12 UD)

The eventual wide points totals of 117-111 twice and 116-112 do not do justice to Cotto's contribution to a lesser-spotted thriller in the autumn of Mayweather's career. Defending his WBA 154lb title and with the vacant WBC strap on the line, the Puerto Rican great bloodied his opponent's nose and caused plenty of headaches with his intelligent pressure. There was more than enough coming back the other way for Mayweather to deserve his triumph, but Cotto made him work like few others.

2) MANNY PACQUIAO (MAY 2015, 12 UD)

Yes, the thrills that might have prevailed five years earlier were sadly absent. The reduction in Pacquiao's buzz saw output was the main factor here, with a rotator cuff injury perhaps key in the surprising fact Mayweather both out threw and out landed 'Pacman'. Still, failing to face and overcome a eight-weight champion who continues to rule at welterweight today, despite being 41, was never an option for Mayweather and his claims to greatness. It was the biggest night of his career and, typically, he made it look easy.

1) DIEGO CORRALES (JANUARY 2001, 10 TKO)

A masterclass and, arguably, Mayweather's masterpiece. All the elements – immaculate footwork, quicksilver hands, impeccable defence – were there against an all-action opponent, who went into the bout with a 33-0 record. Typically, Corrales never stopped coming forward, although the diet of crisp left hooks he swallowed underlined the futility of his endeavours. That honey punch was key as Mayweather decked his man three times in round seven and twice more in 10 to retain the WBC super-featherweight title.

Massive sporting events do not always live up the occasion.

The boxing world was delivered a reminder of that five years ago as a fight a long time in the making proved a drab affair.

It is the unexpected that often produces the most excitement and that was the case during a 2015-16 Premier League campaign that stands as arguably the most memorable in the division's history.

Here we look back at May 2 in the world of sport.

2009: Pacquiao makes light work of Hatton

"From the ends of the earth to the centre of the ring" was the tagline attached to a light-welterweight title bout billed as the' Battle of East and West'.

With seven seconds left in the second round, Ricky Hatton was indeed in the centre of the ring, on his back having been dumped to the canvas by a thunderous left to the chin from Manny Pacquiao.

The fight marked the last at elite level for Hatton, who finished his career in 2012 with a loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Pacquiao has gone on to secure his legacy as one of the greatest boxers of all time, but his journey has not been without its lows, the biggest of which would come six years later at the same MGM Grand Garden Arena venue...

2009: Leinster-Munster semi-final draws record crowd

Leinster v Munster is regarded as one of the biggest provincial rivalries in world rugby, and it reached new heights as the pair met in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Croke Park.

A crowd of 82,208, a world-record attendance for a club match, witnessed Leinster secure their place in the final with a 25-6 victory.

They would go on to lift the trophy, beating Leicester Tigers 19-16 at Murrayfield.

2012: Messi breaks European club goals record

Lionel Messi's incredible career has been defined by him shattering records and collecting medals at will.

Eight years ago he bettered a mark that had stood since the 1972-73 season with a hat-trick against Malaga.

The treble took Messi to 68 goals for the 2011-12 season, the most by a single player in a European club season.

Gerd Muller had previously held the record with 67. Messi would go on to stretch his advantage over the Germany great, finishing the campaign with a remarkable 73 goals.

2015: 'Fight of the century' fails to inspire

After years of protracted and tempestuous negotiations, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreed to touch gloves in the biggest fight of the 21st century.

The contest did not match the hype surrounding it, however, Mayweather maintaining his unbeaten record in uninspiring fashion.

Pacquiao struggled to land punches on a defensive Mayweather, whose tactical acumen won the day in a fight some dubbed 'Better never than late' in the aftermath.

Mayweather followed up that win with a victory over Andre Berto in September, before coming out of retirement in 2017 to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor and improve to 50-0.

2016: Leicester achieve the impossible

The established order of the Premier League was upset in unbelievable fashion in 2015-16 as 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City, having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, clinched the title.

Tottenham had been the Foxes' closest challengers in a year where Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all struggled for consistency, with Liverpool and Chelsea well off the pace.

However, it was Chelsea who ended Tottenham's hopes and ensured the trophy would head to the King Power Stadium.

Spurs needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and led 2-0 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But Gary Cahill pulled one back and Eden Hazard levelled matters seven minutes from time to spark delirious scenes among the Leicester players watching on TV.

Former welterweight world champion Amir Khan does not know if he will box again.

Khan has twice earned world titles in the 147lbs division and won an Olympics silver medal at Athens 2004 when in the amateur ranks.

The 33-year-old last fought in July 2019 when he defeated Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia, a bout which followed a bizarre TKO defeat to Terence Crawford when he was unable to continue after being caught with an accidental low blow.

It remains to be seen if Khan will step back into the ring, though he said his love for the sport remains.

Speaking to Mirror Sport, he said: "Am I going to fight again? I don't know, I'm in two minds. Should I fight?

"Financially, I've done very well for myself. Do I need to do one more fight which could ruin my whole legacy? I don’t know the answer.

"I'm up against myself. I'm debating with myself should I carry on or call it a day?

"I'm just going to wait and see how I feel after a full training camp. Even if I feel I cannot do it anymore, I can walk away knowing I have done everything.

"My love for boxing is still there and I love boxing to bits. But until I see how I feel after a long, hard, gruelling camp, then I won’t know for sure."

Last year, Khan said that an agreement to fight Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, a bout he has long-since sought, was reached but a showdown did not come to fruition.

Khan (34-5) added he only wants to get in the ring for the big names.

"I want to be at the top level where I've always fought. That's where I belong and that's how I want people to remember me," he said.

"Win or lose, I've always fought at that top level. I'm only interested in fighting at that level.

"You can make mistakes when you try to carry on for too long and don't call it a day. I'll know myself when it's time to stop."

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder fought out a thriller in Los Angeles 14 months ago and the second instalment of a planned trilogy will be battled out in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The WBC heavyweight belt goes on the line at the MGM Grand, which long ago jumped ahead of Caesars Palace as the hottest spot to see elite fighters pull on the gloves in America's gambling capital.

Within the vast urban sprawl of the hotel and casino's grounds sits the Garden Arena, where legends have been made and demolished.

Neither Fury nor Wilder is a stranger to the MGM Grand boxing ring, but neither man has had a career-defining fight there yet.

Fury versus Wilder II could be a classic. Their stunning draw in LA leaves all to fight for.

Here is a look at five of the most dramatic and memorable blockbuster showdowns in the 26-year history of the big-fight coliseum.

5. George Foreman beat Michael Moorer, KO, November 1994

Before he became a grill pan hype man, Foreman was frying rivals in the ring.

The veteran rolled back the years on one of the MGM Grand's first big bills, after fighting for permission to even step into the ring. With the 45-year-old having not had a bout in almost 18 months, the WBA initially refused to sanction the contest, but Foreman went through the courts to get the go-ahead, and it was worth the effort.

The man who lost to Muhammad Ali in 1974's Rumble In The Jungle caused a seismic stir in Sin City with this 10th-round knockout victory, landing the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles as he became the division's oldest-ever champion. He had been outboxed for much of the fight, but Foreman found his punching power when it mattered.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez beat Manny Pacquiao, KO, December 2012

This was the final stanza in a Vegas quadrilogy for Marquez and Pacquiao, with a draw and two Pacquiao points victories in their previous clashes setting up another slice of MGM Grand history.

Amusingly, their second fight had been dubbed 'Unfinished Business', so the promoters needed to ramp up the anticipation for this one, pre-emptively titling it 'Fight of the Decade'.

It went a long way towards living up to that billing, earning Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year gong after Mexican Marquez turned the tables on his Filipino rival, driving a brutal right hand into Pacquiao's jaw in the dying seconds of the sixth round.

The fight-defining shot from the 39-year-old capped a sensational contest in which both men had been in trouble, and down went Pacquiao with a thud to the canvas.

Promoter Bob Arum suggested they go at it again in a fifth fight, but that never materialised. Marquez retired as a five-time world champion, his titles coming across four weights.

This was not a title fight, but the punch that collapsed Pacquiao forms a huge part of the Marquez legacy.

3. Floyd Mayweather beat Oscar De La Hoya, split points decision, May 2007

Anticipation for this light middleweight barnstormer reached fever pitch in the United States, where almost 2.5million households signed up for $55-a-throw pay-per-view television coverage, a record number.

Broadcaster HBO produced a four-episode mini-series building up to fight night, and there was also the saga of which corner Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr, would be in, given their estrangement and his availability as a top-level trainer.

The answer was ostensibly neither corner in the end. Mayweather Sr reportedly priced himself out of a role with De La Hoya, and Mayweather was primed for the showdown by his uncle, Roger Mayweather.

The hype machine was pumping out hyperbole by the time the fight began, and the fact it turned out to provide huge entertainment was testament to the focus of both fighters.

Mayweather was given 116-112 and 115-113 verdicts, with De La Hoya 115-113 on the other, and the winner's verdict that it was "easy work for me" flew in the face of abundant evidence.

Floyd Mayweather Sr, showing not a jot of family loyalty, surmised that De La Hoya would have deserved the win.

2. Frankie Randall beat Julio Cesar Chavez, split points decision, January 1994

It was opening night at the Garden Arena, six weeks after doors to the MGM Grand hotel swung open for the first time.

The WBC super lightweight belt was on the line, Don King was the promoter pulling the strings, and for its outrageous shock factor, Randall's victory over Chavez that night ranks as one of the venue's greatest triumphs.

Chavez had been described months earlier by Sports Illustrated as "the world's greatest fighter", and he headed into this bout with 89 wins and one draw from 90 professional encounters.

Randall dominated the early stages but was pegged back by Chavez, only for low blows from the Mexican to result in two points being deducted by referee Richard Steele - the telling factor.

Chavez would have won a split points decision, rather than lost that way as he did, had he not been penalised, and later said he was "very upset" with Steele.

A bizarre rematch went Chavez's way. In a highly unusual outcome, an eight-round split decision favoured Chavez when an accidental headbutt from champion Randall left the challenger unable to continue.

1. Evander Holyfield beat Mike Tyson, TKO, November 1996; Holyfield beats Tyson, by disqualification, June 1997

Tyson effectively set up camp at the MGM Grand in the second half of the 1990s, having spent a large chunk of the first half behind bars after a rape conviction. He and promoter King landed a mega-money six-fight deal with the venue, after Tyson's comeback began there with a first-round win, by disqualification, over Peter McNeeley in August 1995.

A March 1996 dust-up with Britain's Frank Bruno was a major money-spinner, but nothing touched the prospect of a long-awaited collision with Evander Holyfield for commercial potential.

Holyfield and Tyson had been due to clash at Caesars Palace in November 1991, but a rib injury suffered by Tyson, followed by his incarceration, put paid to that.

Their 1996 showdown was billed as 'Finally', and the first fight – though now often overlooked because of what followed – was a monumental contest in heavyweight history, Tyson succumbing to just the second defeat of his professional career.

It featured thudding head collisions and the sight of Tyson being outboxed by the underdog until enough was enough for referee Mitch Halpern, who stepped in to stop the fight in the 11th round.

Halpern was kept busy that night but was prevented from officiating the rematch seven months later after a complaint from the Tyson camp, with Mills Lane stepping in at late notice.

It was to prove extraordinary, as Tyson bit both of Holyfield's ears during clinches in round three, spitting out a chunk of cartilage onto the canvas at one stage before outrageously claiming a punch had caused the injury.

Lane said it was a "b******t" explanation and disqualified Tyson, who was banned indefinitely. After a year, 'Iron Mike' had his licence back, but his glory days were over, those bites now more famous than any punch he ever threw.

What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas. Instead, it is beamed around the world, with Fury and Wilder next under the spotlight.

If you blinked there is every chance you may have missed Conor McGregor's clinical and devastating return at UFC 246.

The Irishman only needed 40 seconds to defeat MMA legend Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday in what was his first bout in the Octagon for 15 months.

Many had predicted a McGregor victory, just maybe not the swift nature of it, and more difficult challenges lie in wait for the 31-year-old.

So just who is next for McGregor? We take a look at six possibilities.

 

JORGE MASVIDAL

A man, like McGregor, whose verbal skills match his technical ability. After a stellar 2019, which brought victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has frequently tried to catch McGregor's attention, even going as far as to wear the same Versace robe the Irishman donned for his 2017 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr when in attendance for the Cerrone bout. While 'the Notorious' laughed off that attempt to get under his skin, he once again conceded the prospect of facing Masvidal for the UFC's BMF belt is an interesting one.

NATE DIAZ

It seems unlikely a trilogy fight between McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place in the immediate future but who knows in the MMA game? Their first two encounters in 2016, which were split at one apiece, were among the most lucrative in UFC history. After McGregor's victory over Cerrone, Diaz took to Twitter to call out the event as "fake", prompting a reply from his long-time foe at a post-victory news conference in which he said: "Let's go brother, number three. It's always here, so we are right here Nathan."

KAMARU USMAN

McGregor made history in 2016 by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. After successfully stepping up to 170lbs to defeat Cerrone, the chance to hold a third strap at welterweight is sure to be of interest. The man currently in possession of the prize is Kamaru Usman. McGregor called out the Nigerian-American after his victory over Colby Covington last month and Usman has been unsurprisingly open to the idea. An intriguing sub-plot prior to the Cerrone fight was a series of unsavoury Tweets posted from Usman's account aimed at McGregor, though he later insisted he was hacked. 

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV 

There was bad blood in and out of the Octagon when McGregor and unbeaten lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov first waged war in October 2018. On that occasion, Khabib submitted McGregor before an all-out melee marred the win. McGregor has clamoured for another opportunity, while UFC president Dana White said of the possibility: "It's the fight you make, it's the fight that makes sense." Certainly, there would be plenty of eager eyes on this one.

MANNY PACQUIAO

In the immediate future, it looks as though McGregor still has goals in UFC he wants to accomplish. But prior to beating Cerrone, he made no secret of a desire to win a boxing world title and revealed talks were ongoing to face Filipino great Manny Pacquiao. Even at the ripe old age of 41, Pacquiao remains as active as ever and defeated Keith Thurman via a split decision to win the WBA Super welterweight champion last July. 

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR

It was one of the most lucrative fights in history when these two first danced together in a Las Vegas super fight in August 2017. McGregor vowed to avenge his defeat to 'Money' if a rematch were to happen, and Mayweather teased the possibility on Instagram when he mocked up a poster that read "Mayweather McGregor 2, 2020". Addressing that after the fight, McGregor said "that rematch will happen at some stage". Perhaps this one really is a matter of when, not if. 

Conor McGregor would be "honoured" to do battle with Manny Pacquiao in what he believes would be a blockbuster first fight at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium.

McGregor will make his UFC return against Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on Saturday, 15 months after he was beaten by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last bout.

The 31-year-old Irishman is also hungry to don the boxing gloves again and has called out Floyd Mayweather Jr, who he stopped in the 10th round of their fight in August 2017, for a rematch.

McGregor this week revealed talks with another legendary veteran, Pacquiao, are ongoing and would relish the chance to do battle with the 41-year-old in 60,000 capacity Nevada venue that is still being constructed. 

"It will be hard to leave the MMA game fully but I think a boxing world title is a great aspiration to have," said the mixed martial arts superstar.

"What a feather in the cap it would be. I always want bigger and better and to reach for the stars.

"I would love the rematch with Floyd Mayweather and I know the Manny one is there whenever I want it."

He added: "I would be honoured and love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena and what a fight that would be against a small and powerful southpaw.

"We would have to figure out the weight we do it at but it interests me, no doubt."

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.