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Pacquiao lists Mikey Garcia & Spence as lead candidates for next fight

Errol Spence Jr Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao is still deciding on his next opponent but he’s mentioning Errol Spence and Mikey Garcia, as the leading candidates for him. Pacquiao will need to make a fast decision if he wants to fight Mikey in July.

That’s a fight that Mikey’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to set up for Saudi Arabia in July, and he’s clearly the easier option for the 41-year-old Filipino star. Spence already defeated Mikey by a lopsided 12 round decision in 2019 in a fight that wasn’t competitive.

IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) likely won’t be available to fight in July against Pacquiao due to him coming off a car crash last October.

It’s possible that Pacquiao threw Spence’s name out there to give the appearance that there are a lot of other options for him, but the reality is that it’s only Mikey Garcia. That’ll make some fans boxing fans happy because they like that fight.

Pacquiao lists options for his next fight

“There are many possible opponents, there are Mikey Garcia, Errol Spence, (Terence) Crawford and some boys from Canada and Mexico who want to face me,” said Pacquiao via ESPN Deportes.”Errol Spence and Garcia,” said Pacquiao when asked who the leading candidates are or his next fight.

A fight between Pacquiao and Mikey will interest the casual boxing fans, but maybe not the hardcore people know aware of how bad of a mismatch this is. That’s the problem. Mikey has fought only twice at welterweight, and he’s looked pedestrian in both fights. Last weekend, Mikey defeated former WBO welterweight champion, Jessie Vargas, by a 12 round unanimous decision, but it was a close win.

Vargas is no longer one of the top fighters at 147. In fact, he’s not even ranked, but nevertheless, Mikey and his promoter Eddie Hearn are both saying that he’s proven himself at welterweight and is ready to fight Pacquiao. It would have been better for Mikey to have fought someone talented in the top 15 at 147 last weekend to show fans that he really deserves a title shot against Pacquiao.

Picking Vargas instead of one of the top guys from this era make it Mikey look like he cherry-picked a guy that wasn’t a threat to beating him. It’s typical for fighters to face only guys that they know they can beat when they have the option. The only times you see fighters facing opposition where there’s a chance they’ll lose is when they challenge for world titles or fight in eliminator fights.

Manny discusses Mikey and Spence’s fighting style

“Spence is a boxer who can move more, I will need to focus more on strategy, speed and foot movement,” Pacquiao said via ESPN Deportes. “Mikey is different from Spence, he is a different style, Mikey is an aggressive fighter, with a different technique, we have to apply other things,” he said.

Fighting Spence would require that Pacquiao make a lot of different adjustments because he wouldn’t be able to go straight at him the way that Shawn Porter did last September. That style worked for Porter, but only because Spence chose to slug with him at close range. Spence would have likely dominated Porter if he boxed him from the outside the way he did against Mikey.

Pacquiao didn’t mention Porter or Danny Garcia’s names among the mix, which would indicate that they’re not being looked at for his next fight. Porter is coming off of a loss to Spence, so there might not be a lot of fans excited about seeing Pacquiao fight him.

Pacquiao vs. Mikey = mismatch on paper

Mikey, 32, was economical in throwing punches in his two fights at welterweight against Spence and Vargas, and it’s clear that he hasn’t adjusted to the new division. He’s always had a low work rate during his career, but it didn’t matter when he was fighting in the lower weight classes. Mikey was able to blast out guys despite having a low work rate at 126, 130 and 135,

In Mikey’s two fights at 140, Mikey’s low work rate prevented him from stopping Adrien Broner and Sergey Lipinets. Mikey is going to have to change that if he wants to have a shot beating Pacquiao because he’s going to get outworked by him, and likely lose by a one-sided 12 round decision. There’s a good chance that the fans will be very angry after Pacquiao beats Mikey in the same lopsided fashion that Spence did.

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