Manny Pacquiao confirms talks have begun for megafight with Conor McGregor

There's apparently more truth to Manny Pacquiao's curious Thanksgiving tweet than originally thought.

Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division champion, confirmed with international news agency AFP this week that talks have begun for a possible April 2018 showdown against UFC champion Conor McGregor. 

"If we can negotiate it, I have no problem. It is OK with both of us," Pacquiao said. The Filipino icon, who is currently a senator in his home country, confirmed his team "initially" reached out to McGregor but "have not yet had any follow-up conversations."

Last month, the 38-year-old Pacquiao sent a holiday greeting to McGregor (0-1, 21-3 in MMA) which appeared to double as challenging him to a fight. 

McGregor, 29, currently holds the UFC's 155-pound championship and is the only fighter in the promotion's history to hold titles in separate weight divisions simultaneously. The native of Ireland made his pro boxing debut in August -- a 10th-round TKO loss to retired champion Floyd Mayweather -- that reportedly netted him $100 million. 

Pacquiao (59-7-2) hasn't fought since July when he lost his WBO welterweight title by decision against upstart Jeff Horn in Australia. Despite the disputed scorecards from the judges, "PacMan" appeared very much past his prime. He remains hopeful a McGregor fight can be made.

"It depends who they can finalize as my opponent by April," Pacquiao said. 

Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, told CBS Sports' "In This Corner" podcast last week that he isn't interested in matching Pacquiao against such a boxing novice in McGregor.

"If we equate boxing with fighting -- because I'm not talking about his ability as an MMA participant because he has been very good with that -- Conor McGregor can't spell fight," Arum said. "Mayweather carried him before he took him out. With Manny, it wouldn't be a contest, it would be a money grab.

"Conor McGregor is not a boxer and does not know how to box. His stance is a stance of an MMA fighter who has to protect against kicks and takedowns. He is not competitive with any fighter no matter how old that fighter is."

Ever the opportunist as a Hall of Fame promoter, Arum did close by hedging his bet just a bit regarding the fight, which makes sense financially considering Mayweather-McGregor produced the second biggest live gate and second most pay-per-view buys in boxing history

"[McGregor] doesn't know how to spell fight," Arum said. "He's a great, great MMA artist. This is no knock on him. He's a great attraction. He can not spell fight. The answer is no, I wouldn't particularly look forward to doing a fight featuring McGregor and Pacquiao. If Manny asked me to, I would."

McGregor hasn't appeared in the Octagon in 13 months and UFC president Dana White recently stated he's unsure whether "The Notorious" will ever fight again, boxing or MMA.

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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