During a recent press conference, BoxingScene.com's Bill Emes and Michael Marley cornered Manny Pacquiao on the subject of Mixed Martial Arts. Pacquiao said he watched MMA and UFC, but said it was "too brutal" when asked for his thoughts on the sport.
When asked if he would ever consider trying his hand at Mixed Martial Arts, Pacquiao replied to BoxingScene - "I want to, but they [promters and management] don't want me to fight."
He said if promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank and adviser Michael Koncz said it was okay, he would consider entering the cage. Michael Koncz cut in at that point and told Pacquiao - "you know that you could do what you want."
I'm sure that Pacquiao's promoters would never let him near a UFC cage except for one thing -- there really aren't many big money pay days left for Pacquiao in boxing. Floyd Mayweather seems bent on ducking him and blowing the biggest boxing bout of the young century. Manny is already reduced to fighting Antonio Margarito, a man who has been caught loading his gloves -- the most dangerous cheat in boxing.
In three to five years if Mayweather still hasn't been convinced to get into the ring with Pacquiao -- or if he does and is beaten by Pac -- I wouldn't think it completely outside the realm of possibility that he does an MMA fight. If the UFC wanted to really break some PPV records or make a big splash in the Philippines, booking a Pacquiao MMA fight would be a sure fire ticket.
If I were Pac and his handlers, I'd want at least 18 months to train for MMA and a couple of build up fights against guys with limited grappling abilities before facing anyone really formidable. But even in the best case scenario, I don't see Pac ever being an MMA champ in a major promotion and any losses he took in the cage would inevitably damage his brand value and that of boxing as a whole.
But if boxing can't provide the epic matchups worthy of such a great and popular fighter, maybe its time as the pre-eminent world wide combat sport are drawing to a close.