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Manny Pacquiao sent the whole social media into a frenzy when he reached out to UFC champion Conor McGregor via Instagram on Thursday.
On his Instagram where he tagged the Irish fighter, the senator from the Philippines wrote, “Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend.” He ended the message with the hashtags, “#realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma.
Is that a direct challenge from the eight-division boxing champ?
After losing to Floyd Mayweather in the biggest payday of his career, McGregor has announced that he wants to get back his status as the top dog in the lightweight division, which is now owned by interim champ Tony Ferguson.
In an interview last month, McGregor said that negotiations are ongoing for his next fight in the UFC and he wants Ferguson facing him on the other end of the Octagon when that happens.
“What interests me is certainly a UFC bout, certainly a defense of my lightweight title,” he said. “There is a fighter with the interim lightweight belt. I feel that will be next. We’ll see how negotiations go.”
But McGregor also said that he’s not leaving boxing behind even after the failed experiment with Mayweather.
Now at the tail-end of his legendary career, Pacquiao continues to grind by winning two of his last four fights, including a controversial decision loss to Australian Jeff Horn. Despite getting up there in age, the Filipino boxer still can command an audience, although a lot less when he was dominant.
As he loses his agility and speed, he might be the next logical boxing fight for McGregor. For his part, Pacquiao can benefit from the stunt by pulling up the pay-per-view numbers and give him a nice send-off when he retires from boxing.
To date, the always vocal Irishman has not yet responded to Pacquiao’s Instagram post.