Six months after ending previously unbeaten Keith Thurman’s victory streak, Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao could have, likewise, ended shopping for an opponent that started since then.
This looked to have developed when after scoring his first career victory as a welterweight Saturday night (Sunday in Manila), Mikey Garcia announced to continue campaigning in the 147-pound class and even pointed his finger to Pacquiao as his choice for his next opponent.
Garcia, a four-division world champ beat Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision at Ford Center at The Star, and, at the traditional meeting with the press after the bout, mentioned his interest in fighting Pacquiao, who had just turned 41 last December.
That is, he clarified, if a rematch with Errol Spence Jr., who dealt him his first career loss in March of last year, wouldn’t be possible.
“I think I have great options. I would love to fight Pacquiao or a rematch with Spence. I’d like to continue campaigning at 147,” the 32-year-old, who started his career as featherweight and moved to lightweight until 2018, told media men.
Although he looked to have been at home facing opponents at the 135-140 range, Saturday’s win at welterweight must’ve emboldened him to think of swapping punches with the Filipino great.
Pacquiao, who’s celebrating his 25th year as a prizefighter this year, has bigger plans in mind, though, like a rematch with archrival and former tormentor, the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. that could serve as obstacle to Garcia’s wish.
Or battle MMA artist Connor McGregor, which is a more lucrative option, similar to the Pacquiao-Mayweather II encounter.
“I would love to get in the ring with Manny,” Garcia declared following that triumph over Vargas. “It’s a fight that’s been mentioned and talked about for several years. “
Garcia was referring to the Philippine senator’s previous announcement made a few years back of fighting him.
“I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao. He’s a living legend. I would love to share that ring with him.”
Pacquiao hasn’t fought since dealing Thurman his first knockdown en route to that split decision win to crown himself the WBA welterweight “super” champion. (Reprinted from Manila Times; Eddie Alinea)