The unavailability of both Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford has, for all intent and purposes, paved the way for an inevitable encounter between Filipino eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and four-division titlist Mikey Garcia.
Garcia, following his unanimous decision win over Jesse Vargas last week, expressed interest in squaring off with Spence, Crawford or Pacquiao, among others as his potential next opponent but with the way he was shutout by Spence in May last year, it is doubtful whether a rematch is viable, economic-wise.
A matchup with Crawford would be attractive, but, likewise, a big hindrance existing between Garcia’s camp and that of his former promoter Top Rank that makes the fight a possibility.
Pacquiao, the reigning World Boxing Association welterweight super champion, hasn’t fought since scoring a split decision triumph over erstwhile undefeated Keith Thurman in July 2019 and himself intimated the possibility of facing his former sparmate in the absence of the still reluctant Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The Filipino fighting senator, in a television interview last week, said talks of his fight with Garcia have already been started.
There still was no mention, though as to when and where the title-defending showdown with Garcia would push through except insinuation of a July date and the City of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as venue.
Garcia, younger brother of his chief trainer Robert, is the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight, WBO super-featherweight, World Boxing Council/International Boxing Federation lightweight and IBF super-lightweight champion. Mikey, is handled by Eddie Hearn, managing director of of Matchroom Sport.
Hearn, an Englishman, is no stranger to staging boxing promotions in the oil-rich Saudi Arabia, including the world heavyweight championship rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz last December.
That 12-round unanimous loss to Spence was the only blot in Garcia’s 4-1 win-loss mark.
Hearn described the would-be Pacquiao-Garcia match up as “a monstrous fight” adding he’s doing everything to make it happen.
Garcia had fought only one Filipino, Bernabe Concepcion, in his career, whom he subdued via seventh round knockout in Puerto Rico in 2012.
He was one of Pacquiao’s sparring mates in preparation for the second of their trilogy on January 21 which the Filipino won via a 10th round TKO to avenge his 12-round decision loss a year earlier.
“It’ll be a great matchup and I think we could win,” elder brother Robert projected in talks with newsmen after the Vargas victory.
“It’s not going to be easy (for Mikey). Manny’s a legend and at 41, he dominated Thurman the way he did,” he added. “ It’s very, very dangerous for Mikey because Manny is very fast and very strong.”
Robert said, though, he sees little things that Mikey needs to improve and ”if we improve (on) them, we got a really good shot at beating Manny.”
During his TV interview, Pacquiao said:” If the fight is sealed for July, training will start in April during which time, the Senate is in recess.”
“That’s the promise I made to our countrymen. That in the practice of my second profession — boxing — won’t in any way interfere with my duties as a senator,” he emphasized.