As Conor McGregor continues to be linked to a "mega-fight" with retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr., one of the sport's most well-respected trainers has revealed the UFC star's team recently made contact about working with the Irishman.
Freddie Roach, a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the long-time trainer of Manny Pacquiao, revealed in an interview with Fight Hub TV that he had been asked to train McGregor.
As you might expect considering the current Mayweather rumours, the news could be seen by some as further proof McGregor is serious about stepping inside the ring with the 49-0 American. According to Roach, however, it didn't appear the request was directly connected to Mayweather.
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"They asked me if I'd train McGregor this morning," Roach said in an interview which can be seen in full further down this article.
"If he comes, I'll train him for sure. If he needs help in boxing, that's all I can help him in though."
The 56-year-old trainer ruled out the possibility of training The Notorious One for a bout against Mayweather, and made clear that the American's name wasn't mentioned when he received the unexpected call:
"They did ask me about training him. No [talk of Mayweather], just to train him," he said.
"...I'd have to train him for at least three years to get him ready for Mayweather. He's a little green. He's good at MMA but boxing, I don't know.
"Let's face it, if you fight boxing rules the boxer will win. If you fight MMA rules, the MMA fighter will win. They're two totally different sports."
Boxing, of course, is a skill all Mixed Martial Arts fighters have to be adept in. As such, the apparent enquiry from McGregor's team may simply have been part of their plan to improve the 27-year-old's skill set in preparation for his return to the octagon.
Having landed several punches against Nate Diaz without knocking down his rival at UFC 196, an improvement in that area would perhaps give him an edge when the expected rematch does take place.
Roach, moreover, has previous experience training UFC fighters having worked with Georges St-Pierre in the past.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the timing of the call to Roach is, at least, an unusual coincidence in the context of the Mayweather bout speculation.
If McGregor is truly serious about going head-to-head with one of the greatest boxers ever to grace the ring, he will undoubtedly need all the help he can get just to reach a level where the bout is considered safe to take place.
Hiring one of the most well-respected trainers in boxing to hep reach that goal would have been a strong starting point. Judging by Roach's comments, however, he wouldn't be willing to do that even if the proposal was firmed up.
Fight fans: Do you think McGregor vs Mayweather really will happen? What stipulations would you have? Have your say in the comments below...
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