Mikey Garcia has Manny Pacquiao at top of his list for his next opponent
By Sean Jones: Sounding like a smooth-talking politician Mikey Garcia says he has Manny Pacquiao at the top of his list for his desired next opponent in 2020. Mikey (40-1, 30 KOs) says he can only get motivated for the biggest challenges, and he views the 41-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) as fitting his requirements.
Although some boxing fans feel Mikey’s real reason for wanting Pacquiao is for a cash-out payday to feather his retirement, he says he wants the fight for his legacy. Mikey, 32, wants to be able to beat Pacquiao to cement his legacy due to him being a legend.
If Mikey can’t get a fight against Pacquiao, then his plan-B option would be Danny Garcia. That’s a fight that Mikey wants, but he’s not sure that Danny will be available because Errol Spence Jr is said t be fighting him next in October or November.
The alternative options for Mikey if he can’t get Danny Garcia or Pacquiao are Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. He’d be interested in fighting either of those guys, but he’s not eager to take the fights without a crowd.
Mikey says he will fight without a crowd just to keep his career going, but he’s hoping that won’t be the case.
Pacquiao hasn’t said who his next opponent will be, as he’s focusing his senatorial job in the Philippines right now.
Mikey still banging the drum for Pacquiao fight
“I would love the opportunity to fight Manny,” said Mikey Garcia to PBC on FOX. “He doesn’t have the height and reach advantage like Errol. So I think that makes the better fight for me.
“I know he’s going to engage, and I know he’s going to fight hard. He’s a legend, and I would love to add that to my resume, fighting the great Manny Pacquiao would be tremendous for my legacy. If I get a victory over him, that definitely adds to what I want to accomplish with my legacy and those big triumphs.
“I’m excited if I can get that fight, that would be the best fight. I know there are other opportunities for him. I would love the opportunity, as well. The fan base would love that. I have a lot of fans, and he’s obviously a big draw.
“So I think it would be a great fight. If I get that, I’m definitely taking care of business, and I wouldn’t let this pass me by. I’m hoping to secure that and look forward to it.
“I can fight really well, and I think my boxing style can complicate things a lot for him similar to how [Juan Manuel] Marquez complicated things for Manny in all those fights,” said Mikey Garcia.
Despite Mikey’s lopsided 12 round decision loss to Spence last year in March, he’s ranked highly at #3 with the World Boxing Association at 147. Mikey’s record since moving up to 147 is 1-1. He recently beat Jessie Vargas by a 12 round decision last February.
Mikey says he picked Vargas, who is no longer ranked in the top 15 at 147 because he wanted an opponent to showcase his boxing skills. Vargas is a former two-division world champion.
Garcia wants a “BIG challenge”
“I just don’t get excited about a tune-up fight,” Mikey said. It’s not going to allow me to perform,” said Mikey. “I need a big challenge, and I need a big name and an opponent that can challenge me and push me in order for me to perform.
“This last fight with Jessie Vargas, he was available, he fit the build-up that we wanted, the fight at the time. We looked at other names, but they, unfortunately, weren’t available for the time we needed.
“And some of the names that were brought up were just not exciting. They were tune-up fights, they were comeback fights, and I just don’t want that. I need a challenge in order to grow and show everybody. And Jessie did that. He’s a former two-division world champion.
“His only two defeats have come at the hands of Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley. So it was the right opponent, a big natural guy that I could showcase my skills against.
“Now I’m looking for bigger fights, the biggest fights available. It’s not just what I want, but it’s also what my opponents would want, a fight against me,” Garcia said.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Pacquiao chooses Mikey to fight. The Filipino star has a lot of options, but they’re much harder fights on paper than facing the smallish Mikey, a fighter that at his best fighting at 126, 130 and 135.
Mikey moved up to 140 in 2018 and won the IBF title in a grueling 12 round decision over Sergey Lipinets. That was a fight that was closer than the wide scores turned in by the judges. Mikey did enough to win in beating a limited fighter in Liponets, but he didn’t look good.
Danny Garcia #2 on Mikey’s list of the desired opponents
“I think a great match-up would be Danny Garcia,” Mikey said. “And I think that would be a terrific fight,” said Mikey. “I know he was in search of a possible Errol Spence or Pacquiao fight.
“So maybe he’s trying to get that fight before facing someone like me. I’d be willing to get in the ring with Keith [Thurman] and Shawn [Porter], and I think those would be terrific fights also.
“For sure,” said Mikey when asked if he’d fight Porter. “Look, Manny Pacquiao would be the ideal fight for me, and that’s what I would entertain the most.
“If that offer was presented to me, I would definitely explore that the most, but if that’s not available. And if Manny says, ‘I’m not fighting Mikey for whatever reason, ‘I’m fighting Danny, Errol’ or whoever it may be, then I’ll have to look at whoever is available and whoever else is left.
“If he fights Shawn Porter, then I may look into fighting Danny Garcia. So if Danny is fighting Errol, then the only one left out is Keith. Then maybe I would go at Keith.
“The only name I’m not looking at is Crawford, being that I’ve seen Bob Arum say not the nicest things about me. I just think that fight is out of the question. It’s not that I wouldn’t fight Crawford,” said Mikey.
It’s not surprising that Danny Garcia is the #2 guy on Mikey’s list. That’s an easier option for Mikey than if he were to fight someone like Thurman, Porter, or Yordenis Ugas. Mikey would have problems with Kell Brook and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
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