Floyd Mayweather has confirmed that he is expecting to fight Conor McGregor at some point this year, in comments that fuel the rumours that the showdown is close to being agreed.
McGregor has confirmed that his UFC career has been put on hold as he prepares to step into a boxing ring for the first time and he is determined to hype up his much debated fight with the unbeaten Mayweather.
“I have my eyes on one thing and that's Floyd Mayweather,” said McGregor at an event in Manchester. “It’s the fight I want. I've got the reach. I've got the youth. You can’t prepare for a style like me.
“I am enjoying the little games we’re playing the back and forth. Let's give the fans what they want.
“I believe this is the first billion fight. I think it will happen at the end of this year or the start of next year. I believe the next time I step into a combat arena will be through the ropes with 10oz gloves on.”
Those comments inspired Mayweather to respond, as he spoke to reporters ringside at Carl Frampton’s world title fight with Leo Santa Cruz in Las Vegas.
“Most likely the fight between me and Conor McGregor will happen,” Mayweather told Sky Sports. “That’s the only fight that will get me back in the ring.
“He’s going to do a job on his side and we are going to do a job on my side and hopefully all the fans in the UK come over and support me.
“I don’t know (when it will be), I need to communicate with my team, the fight hasn’t been made yet, but it is all about entertainment so hopefully we can make it happen.”
US television network Showtime are keen to broadcast the fight on their pay-per-view platform, with the last remaining obstacle appearing to be a financial deal between the two fighters that will determine the purse split.
While many boxing aficionados believe a fight between a retired boxing champion and an active UFC competitor would be little more than a made for TV circus, what would be the most talked about fight of 2017 appears to be edging closer to becoming a reality.