Sutcliffe relishing prospect of Pacquiao fight for McGregor

By Hayden Moore

CRUMLIN Boxing Club Head Coach Philip Sutcliffe is relishing the prospect of seeing his understudy Conor McGregor back in the boxing ring should he see off the challenge of Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.

McGregor has swapped the mixed martial arts octagon for the boxing ring before, when he challenged the legendary Floyd Mayweather in 2017.

Conor McGregor and Philip Sutcliffe Snr 1

Conor McGregor and Philip Sutcliffe Snr take a break during a training session

Sutcliffe, who is McGregor’s boxing coach, is eager to get him back in the ring for a potential bout with Manny Pacquiao.

“We have the fight with [Dustin] Poirier, then we’ve [Manny] Pacquiao,” Sutcliffe told The Echo.

“I’d say there’s a good chance it will happen, maybe March/April time.

“Boxing has been the biggest part of his whole game and I’d like to have him in a boxing camp.

“I wish he’d have asked me before the fight with Floyd Mayweather, he probably would have been able to do a bit better.

“He landed quite a bit against Floyd as well.

“You can see Conor has the shots, shots that Crumlin Boxing Club are renowned for that he has brought into the MMA.”

Sutcliffe and team Crumlin BC, which consists of Bra Brady, Raj Vrinceanu and Andy O’Neill, where brought into train McGregor in preparation for his fight with Donald Cerrone last January.

“Conor gives me a lift, he’s rubbing the cobwebs off me,” Sutcliffe says.

“I’ve always trained in boxing; I wouldn’t have delved into other skills or anything like that so it’s something new for me.

“Bra does the pads with him, Raj would do the big shots and I’d look for the punches that will work in between all the grappling or jiu jitsu or judo or wrestling.

“People know Conor for his boxing but he’s an exceptional grappler as well because the guys he uses are the best in their field.”

Under head coach of the McGregor camp John Kavanagh, Sergey Pikulski coaches wrestling, Owen Roddy works on striking and there are a plethora of sparring partners.

Crumlin Boxing Club’s Paul Alexander, Cillian Geraghty and exciting prospect William Hayden have been drafted in to help McGregor spar ahead of his fight with Poirier this weekend.

Being in a camp full of coaches from different disciplines is something Sutcliffe is revelling in.

“It’s great to see them all doing their thing, learning about the different aspects of MMA,” he says.

“When I stop learning I’m going to pack it all in.

“I was actually in the process of retiring before I got involved with Conor. Aaron Dempsey is in the process of learning the ropes to take over from me.

“It’s nice to have something like this late on, so we’ll see where it takes us.”

After engaging in a four-week long training camp in Portugal before Christmas, Sutcliffe and the McGregor team flew to Dubai a few weeks ago to complete mandatory quarantine.

They have completed COVID-19 tests every two days and arrived in Abu Dhabi this week ahead of the fight in the early hours of Sunday morning.

McGregor previously faced Dustin Poirier back in 2014 when both were still on their rise in the UFC.

Both went on to win titles in the organisation following McGregor’s victory and Poirier is eager to address that loss on his record.

McGregor and Poirier will go to war in a Lightweight bout at UFC 257 on Fight Island this Sunday at around 5am.

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