‘Why not?’: With MMA-boxing crossover talk all the rage, Khabib’s dad restokes chatter of Mayweather bout
Talk of a showdown between undefeated pair Nurmagomedov and Mayweather reached a peak after the Russian beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas at UFC 229 in October of 2018 – repeating a feat Mayweather had achieved in the boxing ring a little over 12 months prior.
The Dagestani brawler subsequently called ’Money’ Mayweather out, the retired boxing great claimed he would make a record payday with the fight, Russian boxing chiefs said they could arrange it in front of 100,000 fans – and then, unsurprisingly, the chat fizzled out.
But just when you thought the idea was stone-cold dead, Khabib’s father and trainer Abdulmanap has taken to social media to give new life to the notion of a crossover for his son – but with a caveat.
Sharing an image of Khabib and Mayweather, as well as a previous quote from the boxer (translated into Russian) that he would be willing to face the UFC champ, Nurmagomedov Sr wrote: “Floyd, I respect your wish to fight Khabib. At the moment we have our most crucial moment, when he have to hold the best fight in the history of the UFC.
“Twelve against 12 in a series of victories (in the UFC) and all the fans are waiting for this fight,” Abdulmanap added, referring to the expected showdown between Khabib and UFC lightweight rival Tony Ferguson in March or April of next year.
“We’ve been preparing for this fight for more than a year. Five months and the fight (with Ferguson) should take place."
With Ferguson presumably out the way, Abdulmanap hinted Khabib could turn his attentions to Mayweather.
"First of all we will need to do some boxing training and we need a camp – with Lomachenko Sr (Anatoly Lomachenko, father of three-weight world boxing champ Vasyl) for half a year. Why not!!!” he wrote.
The message from Nurmagomedov Sr follows yet more crossover talk from some big names in MMA and boxing.
Lineal world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury recently said he was keen on making his MMA debut under the tutelage of former UFC ‘champ champ’ McGregor. Meanwhile, Following his ‘BMF’ title victory over Nate Diaz in New York on Saturday, Jorge Masvidal said he was down for a ring switch to face four-weight world champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.Also on rt.com 'I’m dead serious': UFC star Jorge Masvidal calls out four-weight boxing champ Canelo
In Khabib’s case, while the idea of a Mayweather bout seemed far-fetched the first time, it’s even more so now.
‘The Eagle’ is next slated to face Ferguson, and after that has hinted he wants at least one more title defense (assuming he prevails against Ferguson).
Mayweather, 42, has not stepped between the ropes professionally since improving his record to 50-0 against boxing novice McGregor in 2017. All the recent talk is of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, although even that seems unlikely to come to fruition.
So while Abdulmanap asks “why not?”, there seem plenty of reasons why a Khabib-Mayweather showdown will never happen.