Mixed signals galore in Pacquiao-Garcia talks


    THE camps of Manny Pacquiao and Ryan Garcia are not keen on both boxers dueling in the ring.

    Golden Boy promotions executive Eric Gomez told columnist Salvador Rodriguez of ESPN Deportes, the Spanish version of the US sports network giant, in an article posted on its website last Sunday (Saturday in the US) that “there’s nothing to talk about” regarding the match.

    “They (Pacquiao’s handlers) contacted us, but it turns out there’s nothing to talk about.

    That fight isn’t going to happen,” added Gomez, whose outfit promotes Garcia, 22, a rising star in the lightweight division.

    Pacquiao was stripped of his World Boxing Association super welterweight belt by the WBA over the weekend for being inactive for more than a year.

    The same article, however, also quoted Garcia’s manager, Guadalupe Valencia, as saying “the door is still open for the fight to take place.

    “We’re discussing terms. Manny and Ryan want it and instructed their teams to make it happen. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

    Valencia said there was a “high interest in a non-exhibition bout” between the boxers sometime in April or the first week of May, adding it was Pacman’s representatives who made the first move.

    Gomez said that Pacquiao’s “group was new to boxing so there wasn’t anything to build up or discuss,” a puzzling statement since veteran American promoter Sean Gibbons, who heads Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, is known to handle all of the Pinoy fighter’s boxing matters.

    Gibbons served as matchmaker and protégé of Bob Arum, the boss of Top Rank Promotions, which has in the past been at odds with Golden Boy Promotions, owned by colorful and charismatic former world boxing champion Oscar dela Hoya.

    Gomez said he preferred Garcia getting a crack at Teofimo Lopez, who holds the WBA super lightweight, International Boxing Federation lightweight and World Boxing Organization lightweight championship belts.

    Audie Attar, the head of Paradigm Sports Management who has a contract with Pacman, issued a tweet over the weekend implying he was not aware of the talks between the two boxers.

    Attar stressed that “Senator Pacquiao engaged Paradigm Sports as his exclusive representatives last year,” and had knowledge about the proposed deal.

    “I am working closely with Senator and His legal team in Manila on plans for his next fight. We will be sharing the details of this event in the coming weeks,” Attar twitted, leaving Gibbons out of the discussion.

    Attar took a dig at those apparently involved in the proposed Pacquiao-Garcia match, pointing out that “the boxing industry has a history of shady characters being involved.

    These individuals introduce confusion and spread false rumors solely for their own interests.

    “Unfortunately, this only ends up hurting the fighters. It has come to our attention that some of these individuals are once again spreading false and inaccurate rumors that are self-serving without the authority of Senator Pacquiao and Paradigm Sports.”

    Attar, who also handles Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, had been in the center of negotiations for a possible boxing match between McGregor and Pacquiao this year.

    But what was a potentially lucrative encounter crashed when the controversial Irishman suffered a humiliating loss to Dustin Poirier in their UFC rematch in Abu Dhabi last month.

    Meanwhile, the oddsmaker Sports Betting Dime made Pacquiao an early 2-1 favorite against “King Ry,” Garcia’s moniker, last Sunday in the event the fight pushes through, Matthew Saljanin of Fansided.com reported over the weekend.

    “The sportsbook sees the 42-year-old Pacquiao open as a -140 favorite, while Garcia is listed as a +110 underdog,” the report said.