MANNY PACQUIAO has opened talks for a mouthwatering showdown with UFC legend Conor McGregor.
The Irishman and the Filipino superstar have been locked in negotiations to scrap in a blockbuster bout for months.
McGregor, 32, makes his return to the Octagon against Dustin Poirier on January 23 after over a year out of action.
But work has been going on behind the scenes for the Notorious to step into the boxing ring for the second time in his career to take on 42-year-old Pacquiao.
Last year the former eight-division world champ signed with McGregor’s management fuelling rumours of a fight.
And Pacquiao has confirmed the talks, claiming he’d rather fight the Crumlin superstar over Errol Spence.
Reported by Business Mirror, he said: “He is too slow (Spence). Spence is slower than Thurman.
“They [Spence/McGregor] are my options, but right now I want to experience fighting an MMA [fighter].”
Manager Audi Attar, who represents both men, is confident the superstars will be in the ring with each other this year.
Attar told Dubai Eye 103.8 Sport: “I definitely believe it’s inevitable for 2021.
“Both fighters want it, that’s the key.
“You can’t make something happen or orchestrate it or choreograph it – which is the buzzword of this interview – you can’t fake that.
“If one side wants it and the other doesn’t, it’s not going to happen. But when both fighters want that fight to happen, why wouldn’t it happen?
“If the fans want to see it – that almost guarantees that it’s going to happen, right? As there’s enough interest to develop something there.”