One of the most unexpected fights of 2021 could soon be a reality with a deal between the legendary Manny Pacquiao and emerging superstar Ryan Garcia ‘very close’, according to the Californian’s father Henry.

In a bout that few saw coming, Pacquiao would face popular lightweight Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) without the Filipino’s WBA Super crown on the line and possibly in an exhibition bout between 143 and 147lbs.

With his glorious career winding down, Pacquiao, 42, hasn’t fought since trumping Keith Thurman on a split decision in July 2019. In that time, the 21-year-old Garcia’s star has risen rapidly, culminating in a breakout seven-round KO of Luke Campbell in January. 

Now a bout pitting Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) against a much younger man almost half his age and two divisions below is close to being finalised, according to Ryan’s father Henry Garcia.

“Everybody has agreed, all there is left are the details. But both parties have already agreed, promoters have agreed, sanctioning bodies have agreed, so we’re very close to sealing the deal. We’re going to know this week if everything goes through,” Henry Garcia told Sky Sports in association with MyBettingSites.co.uk.

“I believe Ryan is ready for Manny Pacquiao because when Ryan puts his mind to something he’s not going to back down. He’s got all of the confidence in the world. When you have that confidence and motivation and drive, you can focus on what’s in front of you and you’re most likely going to become victorious.

“Ryan likes to take control and we understood that when Thurman put pressure on Manny, he had a hard time fighting backwards. When you reach a certain age you’re no longer as strong as a 20-year-old, we stand a very good chance. He’s 20 years younger than Pacquiao and we feel that’s to our advantage and that’s one of the reasons why I feel it’s a changing of the guard fight – it’s our time.

“I’d like that fight at 143 and I’d love that fight to happen in April or May. This one is possibly going to be in Texas, we’re not sure yet. We don’t know exact details yet, but we’re looking at a good 10-rounder but it’s going to be a real fight [even if an exhibition], that I do know.

“It’s not bizarre, it’s just two people who want to fight each other. Ryan’s fighting a legend and Pacquiao’s fighting a rising star, so it’s not awkward at all. What I do know is both fighters want to fight each other and it’s going to be for real – it’s going to be a real fight. Ryan always admired Pacquiao and always wanted to fight a legend before his time was up, he wanted to fight someone of Pacquiao’s calibre, so there’s a chance it could happen.”