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Mayweather coming back to fight UFC star McGregor Aug. 26

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC star Conor McGregor will meet Aug. 26 in a boxing match that will feature two of the top-selling fighters in the world.

The two fighters both announced the fight Wednesday, after months of speculation about whether Mayweather would come out of retirement at the age of 40 to face a mixed martial arts fighter who has never had a pro boxing match.

Oddsmakers immediately made Mayweather a big 11-1 favorite in a fight that will take place in a boxing ring and be governed by boxing rules.

“It’s official,” Mayweather said on Instagram next to a video poster of both fighters.

“THE FIGHT IS ON,” McGregor tweeted several minutes earlier, posting a picture of himself next to one of Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr.

Mayweather, who retired in September 2015 after winning all 49 of his pro fights, will face the Irish UFC superstar at the MGM Grand arena. He had tweeted a picture of himself sparring in recent days to show he was already getting ready for the bout.

“This is really an unprecedented event,” said Stephen Espinoza, who heads Showtime Sports, which will handle the pay-per-view. “Really we haven’t seen anything in modern history that resembles it, it’s impossible to predict how many sales this will do.”

Espinoza said the fight came together quickly after McGregor and the UFC reached agreement last month on their end of the deal and Mayweather’s team pushed for the fight in recent days.

“All parties were motivated and reasonable and thrilled we could get everything done,” he said. “The sky’s the limit on this.”

Mayweather will fight at the relatively advanced age of 41 in a bout that McGregor has been pushing for months. It finally came together and Nevada boxing officials on Wednesday approved the date for a Mayweather Promotions bout.

Though oddsmakers make Mayweather a big favorite, the thought of the fight has excited many in the MMA world. It has also intrigued some in boxing, though most dismiss McGregor’s chances under boxing rules against one of the greatest defensive fighters in history.

Even if the actual bout may not shape up as a great matchup, the run-up to the fight will. Both fighters are noted for their ability to sell their fights, and both have exchanged in trash talking and more to promote their bouts.

“As with every Mayweather and McGregor fight part of the appeal is the spectacle and outsize personalities who are participating in it,” Espinoza said.

The pay-per-view revenue for the event would likely gross tens of millions of dollars. It comes less than a month before Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez meet in a highly anticipated fight Sept. 16 that could rival it for pay-per-view buys.

This story has been corrected to show that Mayweather is 40 years old, not 41.

Pacquiao wins 60th career fight with seventh-round knockout

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Manny Pacquiao clinched his 60th victory with a seventh-round knockout Sunday of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse, his first stoppage in nine years.

Pacquiao said he worked hard but was surprised by the swift win in the World Boxing Association welterweight title fight.

Pacquiao rebounded from his disappointing loss last year to Australian Jeff Horn and his victory could extend his boxing career that had taken a backseat to his political life as a Filipino senator.

“This is part of boxing. You win some, you lose some,” Matthysse said. He hailed Pacquiao as a “great legend” and said he will take a break after his loss.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also attended the fight, the biggest boxing match in the country since the 1975 heavyweight clash between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner.

Duterte said: “I would like to congratulate Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more.”

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.