Garcia’s focus now purely on Pacquiao

Implausible a week ago, a fight between lightweight star Ryan Garcia and legendary Filipino Manny Pacquiao appears to be very much on the horizon.

In the days following his seventh-round statement KO of Luke Campbell in early January, Garcia appeared to be edging towards a battle with Baltimore banger Gervonta Davis later in 2021. 

But when the chance of a lucrative clash against eight-division champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) presented itself at the weekend, Garcia quickly switched his focus to an improbable fight with the great Filipino.

“You get a call and somebody says, ‘You can fight Manny Pacquiao’. What are you going to say to that?” Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) told ESPN. “Your hero, one of your heroes, one of the people you’ve looked up to, and they say you have an opportunity to fight him? I couldn’t say no. I said let’s go for it. 

“Whether it happens or not, I’m going full in on it. And that’s what I did. I was like, ‘Okay, I can’t worry about any other fight. I’m going to go after Manny Pacquiao’. And that’s what’s happening next.”

The broader details are yet to be agreed. Garcia-Pacquiao could be an exhibition bout, a catchweight encounter or even for the Filipino’s WBA ‘Super’ title at 147lbs, meaning the Californian would have to leap 12lbs in weight. With his vast social media following now at 8.4 million on Instagram, Garcia believes a fight with the ever-popular Pacquiao can do some serious, record-breaking numbers.

“The fight is going to be a [real] fight. Whether they named it an exhibition or a real certified match, I’m throwing punches like I’m trying to knock Manny Pacquaio out,” continued Garcia. “If you get two people in the ring with 8 or 10 ounce gloves with no headgear, you tell me if that would be an exhibition or a real fight, knowing that we’re both real fighters. I’m not going in there to throw pillow punches. I’m throwing the punches I throw and I’m sure Manny will throw the punches he throws. You guys can call it whatever you want.

“We’re still talking about [the weight difference]. That could be worked around very easily. Whatever Manny wants for the weight to be at, I can do it. I’m a big boy. I’m not a small 135; I’m a pretty big 135. If I have to gain weight, I will.

“This fight will break records. People are underestimating how powerful this social media era is and this fight will destroy records.”