Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis revealed to TMZ Sports last week he had an interest in competing in a professional boxing match, and that he would welcome a fight against YouTuber Jake Paul. But the 33-year-old told Heavy he would rather sign up for a legit fight against an elite-level world champion like Manny Pacquiao over a relative novice professional boxer like Jake Paul.
“I don’t want it to be a spectacle. I want it to be a fight,” Pettis said.
So if Pettis is offered a boxing match vs. Jake Paul or Manny Pacquiao? Which one would he choose? “Showtime” didn’t hesitate with his answer to that question.
“Pacquiao. That’s [the level] I want to be at when I box,” Pettis said.
You can watch the entire interview below.
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Mom Steered ‘Showtime’ Away From Boxing
Pettis explained his love for boxing went all the way back to 1999 when Hall of Famers Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad fought to a 12-round draw.
In fact, Pettis said the only reason he had not yet competed as a boxer already was probably due to the fact that his mother had steered him away from the sport as a youth.
“I boxed as a kid, but my mom wouldn’t let me [do] boxing competition because she said she didn’t want me to mess my face up. Taekwondo and kickboxing were less of a violent sport to her, so that’s why I pursued that stuff,” Pettis said.
While mom might have been a little wrong about the comparative violence between MMA and boxing, it turned out she was totally right about moving her son in that direction.
Pettis went on to win world championships in MMA for WEC and UFC, and the legend becomes one of the most recognizable faces in the sport due to his ability to consistently produce highlight-reel finishes.
But boxing was the MMA star’s first love.
“Boxing was what I wanted to do. Not MMA. MMA just kind of happened for me, and I was really good at it,” Pettis said.
Known for Kicks, ‘Showtime’ Has Hands, Too
“Showtime” said people shouldn’t discount his boxing skills just because they haven’t seen them yet.
“I definitely have hands. Guys just don’t know that,” Pettis said.
The fighter said he becomes a kicking specialist inside the cage under MMA rules primarily because that’s the best weapon from long range and it keeps grapplers at the end of his longest strike.
Still, Pettis touted his experience boxing with some of the best professional fighters in the world at gyms all over the country as evidence of his ability.
The fighter said competing in a pro boxing match was on his “bucket list” and that he wants to “do it the right way” and participate in a “real boxing fight”.
Pettis is heading into the 2021 season for PFL. The former UFC champ plans to win the PFL’s $1 million lightweight tournament.
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Another Notable Boxer Awaits Inside PFL
Interestingly enough, another excellent boxer from the MMA world will be competing in that same PFL lightweight tournament: Clay Collard.
Also an ex-UFC fighter, Collard went 5-1 as a professional boxer during 2020 as he waited for the PFL to begin operations again after the global pandemic.
So Pettis and Collard might collide indie the cage for the PFL belt sometime in 2021.
But the two could conceivably do the same thing inside a boxing ring now, too.
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