Manny Pacquiao and Ryan Garcia? If you thought that was a crazy, out there idea, it’s nearly reality.
A week after it was reported by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger that the 22-year-old Garcia and the 41-year-old Pacquiao were in preliminary talks, the latest update is that talks are progressing and unlike earlier reports from the past several days, this would be an actual fight and not an exhibition.
Yahoo’s Kevin Iole says both sides have agreed to face each other next, but securing financing for this matchup is one of the hurdles. Veteran boxing journalist Steve Kim says that One Entertainment Group “is the one behind this event.” It should be noted that One Entertainment Group is not affiliated with ONE Championship, so don’t confuse the two.
Another issue would be the weight class. Pacquiao currently competes at 147 lbs, whereas Garcia is a 135 lbs contender. The compromise is a catchweight in between 140 and 147 per Coppinger, who also was told by Garcia’s advisor Guadalupe Valencia that they are “making progress” in negotiations.
The legendary Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t fought since winning the WBA welterweight title away from Keith Thurman back in July 2019. Because this is boxing, the WBA made him “champion in recess” and promoted Yordenis Ugas to champ. Whatever. Pacquiao obviously had interest in fighting Conor McGregor, but Dustin Poirier squashed that easy payday for him.
Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is a rising boxing sensation who’s just recently inked a sponsorship deal with Gatorade. He’s coming off a body shot KO win over former lightweight title challenger Luke Campbell, who knocked him down in the second round. It was nevertheless the best and biggest win of Ryan’s career.
Broadcast details and venue are not known at this point but presumably if all goes well we’ll know a lot more over the next few weeks.