Conor McGregor’s anticipated boxing match with Manny Pacquiao has seemingly sailed away following the Irishman’s loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in January.
If you ask the southpaw striker’s coach John Kavanagh, the 32-year-old McGregor (22-5 MMA; 20 stoppages; 0-1 boxing) was perhaps overpreparing for Pacquiao when he should have instead been focused on Poirier.
“I describe it as a game of spinning plates,” Kavanagh told BT Sport. “You’re spinning the boxing plate and you realize the wrestling plate is about to stop, so you have to go spin that one, and then you have to go spin the jiu-jitsu one, you have to spin the kickboxing one.
“We got a bit obsessed with the boxing one. There was talk of a big boxing fight after that. Our bad, our mistake, our fault – no one to blame. We just have to make sure we have to keep spinning that kickboxing plate and all the other aspects of MMA and get ready for the rematch.”
The eight-division champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) npw appears to be headed toward a meeting with Mikey Garcia in May ever since McGregor’s second-round KO loss to Poirier shook the combat sports world.
The former two-division UFC champion McGregor has not yet made it clear if he plans on resuming a career in MMA or boxing ever since the loss.
Should he return to the cage, Kavanagh believes his fighter is a few tweaks away from returning to his peak.
“We have to fix that technical detail. It’s not like we have to fix everything,” Kavanagh said. “It’s just a small enough area, get that back into the whole game. The knock on him was the boxing mentality going into an MMA mentality. Conor was always famous for his movement, his ability to change stances, his bounce as he would say, and we need to bring that all back. It’s there; it’s under the hood. It’s not like the skills need to be learned or even relearned. They just have to be reignited and we have to start that process.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com