Boxing promoter Bob Arum is determined to make Conor McGregor vs Manny Pacquiao a reality – even if it means he has to walk away from negotiations to appease UFC chief Dana White.
While the prospect of Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor continues to loom large over the fight game, Pacquiao's name entered the equation in January when he put himself forward to fight the UFC's first ever double champion – provided they meet inside the boxing ring and not the octagon.
UFC president Dana White, however, has not been willing to entertain the idea of McGregor facing off with the eight-weight world champion if it involves Top Rank chief Arum, insisting he won't work with the 84-year-old promoter.
"Listen, I love Manny Pacquiao. But I don't love Bob Arum. You can tell Arum to save his money and not make any calls over here because we aren't doing business with him," White told Yahoo Sports.
With McGregor vs Pacquiao seemingly a non-runner if he is part of the negotiations, Arum now says he will take himself out of the picture if it means the fight can happen.
Speaking to TMZ, Arum said: "I don't have to be involved. I ain't getting in the ring. But that is an easy fight for Manny, and I would love for the fight to happen.
"[The ball] is in their court. If the only impediment to Manny Pacquiao fighting Conor McGregor is because Dana doesn't like me, then I would be around. I would give Manny the right and the permission to fight Conor McGregor any time the money is right for Manny."
Despite Arum's efforts to push Pacquiao's name into the frame, McGregor and Mayweather appear focused on fuelling speculation over showdown between, a fight that could become the richest in combat sport history.
"100%," McGregor said at a recent Q&A session in Manchester when asked if Mayweather will be his next fight. "I believe the next time I step into a combat arena will be through the ropes wearing 10-ounce or eight-ounce gloves. I believe so."
Mayweather also sounds increasingly optimistic. "Most likely the fight between me and Conor McGregor will happen," Mayweather told Sky Sports while in attendance at Saturdays WBA welterweight title match between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz last Saturday.
"That's the only fight that will get me back in the ring."
Meanwhile, Pacquiao, who came out of retirement in November 2016 after just eight months away from the ring, will defend his WBO welterweight crown against Jeff Horn in April. That fight could take place in Horn's homeland Australia or United Arab Emirates, with Arum planning a four-fight farewell world tour for Filipino icon.