The dust has settled following the highly-billed ‘money’ fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, making it a good time to reflect on what the sport of boxing may hold in store for Conor McGregor – or should that be: what Conor McGregor may hold in store for the sport of boxing?
UFC’s star fighter is expected to return to the Octagon in the coming months – likely to finally defend his lightweight belt. But McGregor seems keen on a return to the boxing ring. And he certainly won’t be short of potential suitors for a bout – with a big pay cheque set to land in the gloves of any opponent.
So, who could Conor McGregor face next in the ring?
Oscar De La Hoya
One of the most surprising names to pop up in recent weeks was 44-year-old Oscar De La Hoya, who was bold enough to claim he would knock McGregor out inside two rounds of any boxing match.
The Mexican, who was convincingly beaten by Manny Pacquiao in his last fight back in 2008, said, “I still have it in me. I’ve been secretly training, secretly training. I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor in two rounds.”
Tipsters have the pair closely matched up in any potential contest, according to the up to date sports blog at Sportsbet.McGregor would be wary of becoming an exhibition fighter if he took up De La Hoya’s advances though, as two fights – let alone two defeats – against two previously long-retired fighters, is hardly a glittering start to a career.
Paulie has been desperately trying to stir up public interest in a contest with McGregor ever since the pair’s infamous sparring session in the build-up to the Mayweather-McGregor match.
A former WBA welterweight champion with a 36-8 record, Paulie Malignaggi has his best days well behind him at 36 years of age, and it could prove to be a very winnable contest for McGregor.
However, if McGregor were to lose to Malignaggi, it would surely prove a fatal blow to any hope of a successful career in boxing. So, unless he is desperate to clear up the knockdown/push debate once and for all, it’s not clear what Paulie has to offer Conor.
Having faced one of the greatest of all-time, a controversial title shot would surely be the greatest appeal for Conor McGregor to return to boxing – especially if he wishes to be taken seriously by the sport itself.
The light-middleweight (154lb) division would be his best bet, which currently boasts no less than five current title holders: Erislandy Lara, Brian Castaño, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd and Miguel Cotto.
Surely one of the champions would be up for a big money fight in what would be deemed a relatively “easy” contest against boxing novice McGregor.