McGregor inks boxing deal as his camp awaits Mayweather's return

LOS ANGELES • The long-rumoured bout between undefeated American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor is halfway to becoming a reality after the Irishman signed a deal.

The fight's promoter Dana White told American television cable channel TNT on Wednesday that McGregor has agreed to a boxing match and not a martial arts fight.

This heavily favours Mayweather, who has never lost in his two-decade long storied career.

White said they still have a long way to go, but his plan now is to try to lure Mayweather out of retirement for a superfight.

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"The McGregor side is done," the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president said. "I'm not saying the fight will happen but I got one side done and it's time to work on the other (Mayweather).

"If we can come to a deal with (Al) Haymon (Mayweather's adviser) and Mayweather, the fight's going to happen."

White said that McGregor has agreed to step in the ring with the undefeated Mayweather despite not having boxed competitively since he was a teenager. McGregor was granted a licence to box in California several months ago.

The 28-year-old Irishman has been the UFC's most popular fighter and among its top money spinners, while Mayweather, a 40-year-old American, retired in 2015 with a 49-0 record including 26 victories by knockout.

White has said the fight could generate a payday of US$100 million (S$139 million) for Mayweather and US$75 million for McGregor.

Mayweather has repeatedly said that he will not come out of retirement, against anyone, for less than US$100 million.

Not everyone would be excited to see a Mayweather-McGregor boxing match. Promoter and former multiple champion Oscar de la Hoya has said that a bout between the two would be an "embarrassment" for the sport.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2017, with the headline 'McGregor inks boxing deal as his camp awaits Mayweather's return'. Print Edition | Subscribe