WITH Ryan Garcia out of the picture, veteran welterweight Mikey Garcia has announced that he will be the next foe of former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in what promises to be an action-packed slugfest being arranged sometime in May.
“We are finalizing all the details but we hope to come up with a date in the next few days, including the location and everything,” Garcia, 33, told female British post-fight announcer and ESPN reporter Jo Ankiel in an interview posted and written by Scott Christ on the website badlefthook.com yesterday.
“A year ago, we were ready to do this and COVID-19 happened but now things are back on track. So far all of the parties are on board and we’re trying to get everything done before May,” the boxer, who has won world titles in four weight divisions, said.
A rising star in the lightweight division, Ryan Garcia confirmed in several interviews that his plan to face Pacquiao would no longer push through and was “moving on” to face other boxers in his own weight class.
Despite his edge in age and height – 22 to Pacquiao’s 42 and at 5-foot-10 four inches taller – boxing pundits believe the young American fighter would be mincemeat at the hands of the veteran Filipino prize despite the fact that he has not fought for over a year.
The older Garcia, a former International Boxing Federation super featherweight titlist, admitted that he had been pursuing Pacquiao for the last few years “but now in the last few weeks we have been very close in finalizing this. I am excited for it.”
Born to Mexican parents, Garcia packs a punch, chalking up 40 wins, spiked by 30 knockouts, his only defeat a unanimous decision loss when he challenged defending International Boxing Federation welterweight kingpin Errol Spence Jr. on March 3, 2019 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pacquiao was at ringside watching that fight, fueling speculations that he and Spence could be in for a title match since he was the World Boxing Association welterweight champ then.
In his last fight, Garcia beat former World Boxing Organization welterweight champ Jessie Vargas, one of Pacquiao’s earlier victims, by unanimous decision on Feb. 29, 2020 at the Ford Center in San Francisco for the World Boxing Council diamond welterweight title.
The “diamond” belt is nothing more than an honorary championship awarded by the Mexico-based world boxing body similar to the one it awarded to Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he beat Pacquiao by unanimous decision six years ago at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Toting a record of 62 wins, 39 by knockout, seven losses and two draws, Pacquiao has not fought since wresting the WBA super welterweight belt from erstwhile unbeaten Keith Thurman in a close split decision win last July 7, 2019 at the MGM Grand Arena.
The fighting lawmaker was recently stripped of the title by the WBA for his inactivity, awarding it to top-ranked Cuban Yordenis Ugas.
He is back in his hometown of Gen. Santos City training after announcing more than a week ago that he and his handlers, Paradigm Sports Management, were finalizing a fight they would be announcing in the next few weeks.
Pacquiao indicated he planned his ring comeback in May while Congress was in recess.
Garcia was keen on facing the Filipino ring icon, saying: “Just to be in the same ring is great for my career. It’s (going to be) a great fight. And I hope the fans appreciate this.”
He was undaunted by Pacquiao’s fearsome reputation and, in fact, saw himself at par with the Filipino boxer “because it’s not very often you see two of the greatest fighters face each other. Right now that’s what I am about to do. I am about to face a legend.”