Pacquaio vs. Mikey Garcia in the offing

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

 

OVER the last few weeks, there have been confusing reports about our boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquaio’s probable next opponent. The first report pointed to the undefeated 22-year-old Mexican-American blooded Ryan Garcia carding 21 wins sans loss slate with amazing 18 knockouts. Pacman, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since claiming the World Boxing Association (WBA) “super” welterweight (147 lbs) world tiara over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 20, 2019 via split decision resulting in his 62-7-2 (win-loss-draw) with 39 knockouts. But for some reason, the expected clash with Garcia did not push through. I don’t know why.

Then few days after the aborted fight, the WBA stripped Pacquiao’s diadem due to his inactive status inside the ring for one-and-a-half years. That irked Pacman and pleaded to WBA through our Games and Amusement Board (GAB) which handles our professional athletes, to ask the WBA to reconsider the decision. But WBA stood firm with its judgment, designating Pacman as “Champion in Recess” for being unable to defend his throne whether due to medical, legal or other reasons. WBA eventually promoted number one contender Cuba-born Yordenis Ugas to welterweight world champion. But MP Promotions (owned by Pacquiao) president Sean Gibbons belittled the WBA’s decision to strip Pacman of his title and boasted that the 42-year-old Pacquiao is the People’s Champ and doesn’t need any title belt to fight anybody. (Translation: Pacquiao’s fight will surely be patronized by world boxing lovers with or without a title).

Yes, there’s no shortage of foes for Pacman. Recently the name of Terence Crawford, another undefeated fighter World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight king, also cropped up in the news as Pacman’s possible opponent. But again, the planned fight which was thought to be a blockbuster did not materialize when Pacman asked famous world boxing promoter Top Rank president Bob Arum for a $40 million purse. Of course, the request is too much for Arum who knows too well that during this pandemic time, there will be rush for ringside tickets and only few spectators might be allowed to watch the battle. In short, it will not be profitable for Arum.

Another suggested foe is World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champ, the undefeated 31-year-old Errol Spence, Jr. The five-foot-nine Spence carries sterling record of 27 wins sans loss. But like the prospects for Ryan Garcia and Terrence Crawford, the Pacquiao-Spence planned fizzled out.

After three failed attempts, it looks like Pacman’s promoter Sean Gibbons finally found the right opponent for Pacman – another Mexican-American veteran slugger, Mikey Garcia. He had more experience than the three, registering 41 fights with 40 wins, single defeat and 30 by knockouts. Early last year, the two camps planned on a fight in July 2020 but that was derailed obviously due to COVID-19 pandemic. But this year I believe that plan will become a reality.  Garcia is a former four-time division titleholder and contender for the welterweight division while Pacman is the only eight-division world champion in boxing history, so far. Probable fight month is April or May. It will be a good match. Let’s just wait and see.

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I doff my hat to Gov. Amado Espino III for opening the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC) track and field to our athletes for their training. Recall that the NRSCC was temporarily closed due to COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now open to the public.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. PSALMS 138:6

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