Manny Pacquiao, Ryan Garcia edge closer to welterweight showdown

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·3 min read

Ryan Garcia, the 22-year-old rising star who just last month stopped Luke Campbell to win the interim WBC lightweight title, appears headed toward a welterweight showdown with the legendary Manny Pacquiao, a source close to the fighters told Yahoo Sports on Saturday.

Garcia said in a video he released on his Instagram that the bout, if it is finalized, would not be an exhibition bout but a full 12-round match.

The source told Yahoo Sports that the fighters have agreed to face each other in their next bouts, but that financing still needs to be secured to make it a reality. That is a not-so-insignificant step. But when fighters of this stature agree to fight, the financials almost always fall in line.

“Hey everybody, I just want to make it real clear: My fight with Pacquiao would not be an exhibition,” Garcia said on his Instagram story. “It will be a real fight, shooting for 12 rounds, all on the line. Our records will be on the line. I just want to make that very clear for everybody.”

Garcia first brought up the idea of fighting Pacquiao during an appearance on Mike Tyson’s “Hotboxin” podcast. It was on that podcast that Garcia seemed to come to an agreement to fight Gervonta Davis, who holds titles at super featherweight and lightweight.

But on that episode, Garcia said, “If there is anybody I could get in the ring with before I go, it’s Manny Pacquiao,” Garcia told Tyson.

The potential bout picked up steam after Garcia mentioned it. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since a July 20, 2019, decision over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas. On Friday, the WBA named him champion in recess.

Representatives of Golden Boy Promotions, which has Garcia, and of Pacquiao have discussed terms and at one point, there was talk it would be an exhibition. But as Garcia emphatically noted in his social media post, that is no longer the case.

It would be a huge leap for Garcia, who until stopping Campbell hadn’t faced a high level of opposition. But he’s been adamant that he wants to make the biggest and most significant fights he can and isn’t concerned about protecting his record.

Pacquiao is one of the biggest names in the sport and has won titles in eight weight classes.

That would be about as big of a fight as Garcia could get. He has said repeatedly since bringing the idea up that he also wants to fight Davis immediately after Pacquiao.

WBC interim lightweight champion Ryan Garcia hopes to fight legendary Manny Pacquiao.
"King" Ryan Garcia, who stopped Luke Campbell in a lightweight bout in Dallas on Jan. 2, is moving closer to a welterweight bout with the legendary Manny Pacquiao. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

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