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McGregor: No fight with Pacquiao

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(Photos from Instagram | @thenotoriousmma & @mannypacquiao)


MANILA — No way.


This could be the terse answer of mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor on the speculation about a possible boxing match with eight-division champion and world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.


While he did not specifically answer question on possible fight with the Filipino fighting senator, McGregor told the website TMZ that he wants to be in a "real fight." 


"I think a true fight is what I want to do next," said the 2-division MMA champion. "A real fight."


When pressed to elaborate, he responded, "MMA next," essentially killing any chance of a McGregor-Pacquiao bout, reports published in Manila indicated.


Pacquiao earlier indicated he was open to talks to fight McGregor when he takes a break from his legislative duties in April.


"If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us," Pacquiao said.


Asked if he had already approached McGregor's handlers to tackle the plan, Pacquiao said: "Initially, but we have not yet had any follow-up conversations."


Meanwhile, the PSC-Pacquiao Amateur Boxing Cup supervising technical director Rogelio Fortaleza is hopeful that they will scout a lot of promising talents in this nationwide grassroots boxing program that kicked off at Robinsons Place here last December 16.


Fortaleza, during the official weigh-in of the Mindanao Preliminaries that has attracted a total of 90 boxers from 17 areas in the island, said, "Our objective here is to scout potential boxers for the national team. We are crossing our fingers na marami kaming madiscover."


However, he was somehow disappointed by the low turnout of entries in the Mindanao Preliminaries with Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City fielding the most boxers with 14 and 13, respectively.


"Nagpadala naman ng mga invitations, sayang naman at hindi sumali ang iba," Fortaleza said, considering that Mindanao is a breeding ground of great amateur boxers.


Malungon, Sarangani has 11 boxers while Barangay Aglayan of Malaybalay, Barangay Labangal and Digos City has eight entries each.

The Davao City boxing team, which originally brought eight boxers, only has seven boxers eligible to play after the official weigh-in held at Lagao Gym yesterday morning.


Kidapawan City fielded six pugs along with Sultan Kudarat as Koronadal City and Polomolok, South Cotabato each sent four boxers.


Of all Mindanao entries entered, only a total of nine preliminary bouts will be conducted in the two-day event here.


"Yung gagawing preliminary bouts eh yung mga weight classes lang na maraming entries. The rest didiretso na sa Mindanao quarterfinals na gaganapin sa Kidapawan on February 10 and 11," Fortaleza said.


Pitted were James Errol Gahaton of Barangay Labangal, General Santos City against Kim Jade Sagrado of Barangay Aglayan, Malaybalay in junior boys pinweight (44-46 kilograms) division; Ben John Rey Yagahon of Barangay Aglayan against Alvin John Sumodlayon of Barangay Labangal in junior boys light flyweight (48 kgs) and Alfred Gomez of Malungon against Jayson Brillo of Sultan Kudarat in junior boys light flyweight.


Other featured bouts are in light fyweight (46-49 kgs) - Ariel Almamento of General Santos City vs Ferdinand Melegrito of Barangay Labangal and Christian Lanutan of Malungon vs Jake Sone Saludar of Polomolok; youth boys flyweight (52 kgs) - Arceboy Baranggan of Barangay Aglayan vs Carl Joshua Rafael of Malungon, John Ignatius Macas of Cagayan de Oro City vs Nino Kongkong of Koronadal City and Nichole Jhon Ligas of Digos City vs Criz Sander Laurente of General Santos City; and youth boys bantamweight (56 kgs) - Zaldy Recopuerto of Malungon vs Remark Brillo of Sultan Kudarat.


Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez was represented by PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram during the launch together with PSC executive director lawyer Sannah B. Frivaldo and Philippine Sports Institute (PSI) national director Marc Edward Velasco.


General Santos City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera was also present.


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