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Mikey Garcia: ‘Manny Pacquiao WANTS a fight with me’

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia says he received a message from Sean Gibbons from Team Manny Pacquiao that the superstar is “excited” about fighting him. Mikey (40-1, 30 KOs) overjoyed now with him finally receiving a little bit of hope that he’ll get the fight with the former eight-division world champion.

It’s an easy fight for Pacquiao on paper against Mikey, and you can see why he would want to face him.

Mikey, 32, has been talking about wanting a fight against Pacquiao for over a year now. He’s been sounding like a broken record. He feels that a match between him and Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) would give the boxing world a fight that they’d love to see.

Fans want to see Pacquiao face other guys, though, and not specifically Mikey Garcia. He’s on the list of the fighters that fans want to see Pacquiao face, but he’s not high on the list.

Fans want to watch Pacquiao fight these guys:

  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Errol Spence Jr
  • Terence Crawford
  • Danny Garcia
  • Shawn Porter
  • Keith Thurman – in a rematch

Mikey is probably on the bottom of that group of fighters in terms of who boxing fans want to see Pacquiao fight.

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

Mikey Garcia excited about Pacquiao clash

“I haven’t gotten into details about my next fight,” said Mikey Garcia to DAZN. “Before the Jessie Vargas fight, we already talking to Team Pacquiao, having a few discussions.

“It seemed like things were shaking up pretty well with that with Manny Pacquiao getting on board about getting a fight with me. Things went south with the whole pandemic, and everything had to wait.

“I haven’t had any further discussions. However, Sean Gibbons left a message for me that Manny is very excited, and he would love to entertain a fight with me. That’s a strong possibility. So that put a smile on my face. That let me know there’s still interest.

“Whether that happens in the next few months or the end of the year, we just don’t know. But at least I know he’s [Pacquiao] still interested in a fight with me. Until I heard something like that, I had a lot of doubt and a lot of questions and uncertainty,” Mikey Garcia said in talking Manny Pacquiao.

Mikey sounds like a kid that just got the present they wanted for Christmas. Hopefully, what Gibbons said about Pacquiao being interested in facing Garcia doesn’t turn out to be a lot of hot air. Mikey will be crushed if he doesn’t get the fight now.

What could prevent the Pacquiao vs. Garcia fight from taking place in 2020 is the pandemic. It’s too big of a contest for it to be staged behind closed doors, and we don’t know when fans will be allowed back into fights.

Sean Gibbons said Pacquiao wants Mikey fight

“Maybe he wants to go a different route, and maybe he wants to stop boxing completely,” said Mikey in questioning whether Pacquiao might select another opponent.

“I don’t know. And I don’t talk to him directly, so there was always that little bit of uncertainty, but hearing his team Sean Gibbons, that’s a fight that they want and are excited to push forward on that.

“I think that’s exciting, and that’s what I’ve always wanted and a fight that the fans would love and appreciate. Once things get back on track, that’s a fight that I’m going to go after. I feel like I would be ready,” said Mikey when asked if he would need a match to shake off the rust after the pandemic ends and boxing restarts.

“I think I would be ready to go into a big fight like a Manny Pacquiao fight right away. We’ve been doing this for such a long time. We’re comfortable taking breaks in between layoffs sometimes and forced layoffs for whatever reason.

“I don’t feel like there’s a need to have a tune-up fight at this point. I think we’re ready, and I think that as long as I get my ten weeks of training that I require for my fight, I think I’ll be good to go,” Mikey said.

Pacquiao probably won’t want to waste a fight against Crawford, Spence, Danny Garcia, or Keith Thurman during the pandemic. Losing all the gate money would be unthinkable.

Pacquiao might be willing to do that in a fight with Mikey, but it’s still unlikely. Unless crowds are allowed back this year, Mikey may need to wait until 2021 for a match against Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

Mikey still interested in working with Matchroom

“We can continue to work, and I appreciate the work that they did with me,” said Mikey about Matchroom Boxing and Eddie Hearn. “We basically partnered up fo that fight [Jessie Vargas], and it was more like a co-promotion.

“It was a partnership with both to get this event with Jessie Vargas. We do have a contractual clause. They obviously have the right to present me an offer that I seriously consider, and I weigh it is equal value in different terms.

“Not only monetary value but in legacy and fight and quality of fight. So that’s where we stand. I would definitely like to work with them again. The whole team Matchroom was wonderful with me.

“DAZN did a great job with their media coverage of me, so I have nothing negative for me to say about them or any reason for me not to work with them.

“The only thing is, we want to see what’s happening with boxing. We don’t know where it’s at right now, and when it gets back to normal,” Mikey continued.

Matchroom hooked Mikey up with a fight against Jessie Vargas, and that match gave him credibility at 147. Mikey didn’t beat a relevant welterweight, but he was able to beat a guy that used to be one of the players.

Matchroom has other welterweights that they can match Mikey up with, like Josh Kelly, Maurice Hooker, and Conor Benn.

Mikey expects big audience for Pacquiao match

“Top Rank had a show. I don’t know what that translates into a big shot where me and Manny Pacquiao deserves a big audience,” Mikey said. “I think it demands a big audience because it generates a lot of money also. Fighters like Manny that require a big purse and big guarantees.

“The promoters can’t just cough up money from nowhere. It has to generate from somewhere, and the gate is a large stream of revenue where you’re able to generate the money to pay these fighters.

“So I think a fight with Manny will need to wait until we can have an audience whether that gets pulled by Matchroom or DAZN or anyone else. I’m willing to negotiate and talk to anybody. DAZN did great, and Matchroom did great.

“They’d already reached out to Team Pacquiao prior to the Jessie Vargas fight, and we’d already gotten a few dates that were floating around for the early summer. We were excited to move on with these ideas and these plans, but the pandemic hit.

“So we have to sit back and wait for a little while longer. I’m excited to get back. I don’t need no tune-up fight. I’m ready to go,” said Mikey.

A big audience would show up for Pacquiao vs. Garcia, but not during the pandemic. This fight might need to go out of the U.S for it to take place in front of fans.

Garcia willing to travel for Manny fight

“That was one of the sites that was brought up to my attention,” said Mikey about fighting Pacquiao in the Middle East. “Possibly taking that fight to the Middle East just like Joshua and Andy Ruiz.

“We never got to full details about it, but it was brought up to my attention. They were a big site in hosting the event. I’m willing to go anywhere, and I’m willing to travel anywhere.

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

“Like I said, inside that ring, it’s the same four ropes and the same four corners. No matter where it’s staged, I know the ring like nobody else. I’m comfortable going anywhere in the world. I would actually love fighting out overseas somewhere else.

“I think that it would be very cool to put that down and have that experience of fighting in front of a different crowd, different people and a different country, and to bring something new to a different nation would be terrific,” Mikey said.

It’s good that Mikey is willing to travel for the Pacquiao fight because that increases the chance it takes place in 2020. Without a country being willing to stage the Pacquiao-Garcia fight in front of an audience, it’s not going to happen.

Mikey will miss the fans

“That’s something in the back of my mind. Can I compete without the emotion of no crowd?” said Mikey when asked if he could motivate himself to fight without fans. “One of the best moments of any fight for me is the ring-walk.

“Coming out of my room into the arena, hearing the music playing, and hearing all the fans cheer and remind me that they’re here to see me, it touches me. It’s emotional.

“It makes me appreciate the love and support. It’s unbelievable. That allows me to fight hard and give them a fight to remember. Now not having that, it might change the way I fight. I don’t know. I would love to have the fans there. It’s part of the energy,” said Garcia.

Fighting behind closed doors is a much different story than with fans present. It’s not just the money. Once fighters have become accustomed to using the energy from the crowd to motivate them, it’s hard to fight in a situation that seems gym-like

Mikey lists his options

“I think number one is Manny Pacquiao for me right now,” said Mikey in naming the fighters he wants to face. “Everybody in the welterweight division or close by it wants the Manny Pacquiao fight.

“I think that’s the biggest fight for me and for him. I think we can generate the biggest audience and the biggest purses also because we generate a lot of fans. But if Manny Pacquiao is unavailable, then I look at that point what is available.

“We do have Danny Garcia, who I think is another big draw in the division, and I think that would be a terrific fight if I would secure a Danny Garcia—followed by Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter.

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

“Those guys are always in exciting fights. Shawn Porter is always in exciting matches, and he’s fought some of the best guys already, and he’s a two-time champion as well.

“So I think these fights will still be exciting for the crowd to tune in. I’d love to earn a shot at a rematch against Errol Spence. In order to do that, I need one or two good wins in order to demand and really create that energy for a rematch,” Garcia said.

Mikey’s options

  1. Manny Pacquiao
  2. Danny Garcia
  3. Keith Thurman
  4. Shawn Porter
  5. Regis Prograis

Thurman hasn’t said anything about wanting to fight Mikey Garcia, and the same goes for Danny.  Mikey would have a difficult time trying to beat Danny or Thurman. They hit too hard, and they’re a lot bigger than Mikey.

Rematch with Errol Spence needed

“I would love a rematch with Errol Spence,” Mikey said. “I think that would be a great match-up, and I think I’d be a little bit better. I’m better at the weight. I thought I was going to do well last time, but apparently, I wasn’t ready.

“Now I think I’ll do a lot better because I’ve been carrying the weight for much more time for ten or 12 weeks that I had last time. I’ll definitely fight one more time before the end of the year.

“Whether it’s at a big stage or small stage, it’s still up in the air. We don’t know. If things don’t look well for putting together a big arena, a big stage with all the fans, then I’m going to look into staging a smaller-scale fight.

“It probably won’t be a big name like Manny Pacquiao, but it can still give the fans on TV a good match. They mentioned some limited seatings. So maybe something like that, but I do want to fight before the end of the year.

“I’m waiting to see where it goes. I want to get another fight before the end of the year. And I want to stay active. I was planning on fighting three times this year. I had some goals. Right now, we’ll wait for another two to three months to see where the landscapes go,” said Mikey.

For Mikey to get a rematch with Spence, he would need to beat a couple of solid guys. The boxing public doesn’t want to see Spence fight Mikey again because their match in 2019 was a one-sided affair. Spence beat Mikey without even shifting out of first gear.

Manny Pacquiao Mikey Garcia

Regis Prograis an option in the future

“If I’ve got Manny Pacquiao, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman or Porter available, then Prograis has to wait,” said Mikey Garcia when asked if he’d be interested in fighting former WBA light-welterweight champion Regis Prograis.

“These guys are more exciting, and I have more interest in fighting them. If these fights are not available, then I would look at 140. I’m not ruling out the possibility of me coming down to 140, but at the moment with the champions being Jose Ramirez, a friend of mine, holding two titles.

“Obviously, we’re not going to fight each other. The other champion being Josh Taylor, who just signed with Top Rank a few months back, I don’t see me getting a world title fight at 140 any time soon.

“I just don’t see it happening. So there’s nothing really for me at 140. So I’m more excited at 147 to pursue a title fight right there.

“Maybe later when a few titles are picked up by someone else at 140, or maybe Regis picks up a belt, maybe Taylor vacates or Jose vacates, or whatever may be, then that opens doors for me there. But until then, I’m not looking at 140,” said Mikey.

It’s doubtful that Mikey will ever face former WBA 140-lb champion Prograis, but it’s possible after he fights one of the top four guys on his list. Once Mikey gets beaten one or two more times at 147, he’ll likely move back down to 140.

Prograis wouldn’t be someone that Mikey would look to face unless he held a world title.

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