Team Pacquiao has reportedly made a shortlist of potential foes for the multi-division, first-ballot Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino Icon’s next opponent, according to his people, will likely be either Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, or Shawn Porter (unless a big bucks Floyd Mayweather rematch materializes, of course).
Of the three fighters on the Pacquiao shortlist, Mikey Garcia has been the most vocal about his desire to face the fighting Senator.
“I want to get big fights,” Garcia recently told FightHype.com. “I want to get fights that people are excited for, and want to watch. We’ve been discussing a fight against Manny Pacquiao for a long time now, and it seems like it’s very close and it can actually happen.
“He has some political obligations with the government right now…but the last thing I heard, he’s interested in fighting in the early part of the summer. There’s still no opponent secured. That’s why I want to jump in and try and get that fight.
“I really hope I can get that fight, because the fans can really enjoy my fight between Manny and myself. I’ve talked about it for some time, and I think that would be a great match-up. I would love that fight. That’s the type of fight that would really motivate me, and excites me. It’s a fight that really challenges me and pushes me to the limit.”
But what would happen if the 31-year-old 4-division world champ DID meet the 8-division soon-to-be 41-year-old champ?
Garcia is a cool-headed, efficient, well-schooled fighter with picture-perfect technique who fights tall behind an impeccable jab and laser-sharp follow-up right. His calm demeanor makes him an unflappable foe who is not distracted easily or pulled out of his game.
His most recent fight—a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Errol Spence in a bid for the IBF welterweight title—can be seen as a one-time aberration until proven otherwise. Garcia proved to be too small for Spence and, once the opening bell sounded, had nothing with which to keep the welterweight top dog honest.
Against foes his own size, it can still be assumed that Garcia is Garcia and that his strengths will still be his strengths.
Pacquiao, despite being a welterweight for the last 10 years and 17 fights, is, for all intents and purposes, more or less Garcia’s size. He’s certainly no small middleweight disguised as a welter, like Spence. So, at least in theory, Garcia will be fighting Manny on even size terms.
Pacquiao, though, is not at all reliant on size to be effective against anybody.
The 24-year veteran is still an ultra-athletic force of nature with quick hands and feet, a tenacious mindset, and an off-putting extreme southpaw style that throws opposition off-kilter and creates opportunities to land big, jarring shots. Pacquiao’s physicality is more than enough to beat most opposition, but when combined with some experience-honed patience and guile, he becomes almost an unsolvable puzzle, baffling to all but the most elite of the elite.
Despite his age and the wear and tear of so many battles in the sport, Pacquiao is still surprisingly fresh as a fighter and, with his most recent win over a ten-years-younger Keith Thurman, has fought his way back into elite-level recognition in the 147 lb. class.
If Pacquiao and Garcia meet in the ring, fans will be treated to an interesting clash of styles and temperaments.
Garcia will try to push towards a straight up and down boxing match and work to keep things nice and controlled behind his jab.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, will be looking to dash and dart as usual, winning Garcia’s respect with power shots early in the fight and keeping the Mexican-American from settling into a comfortable groove and distance.
For Garcia to win, he’ll have to be able to successfully time Pacquiao, keep him from the freedom he likes to have in launching attacks at unorthodox angles, and force him to fight a more conservative fight.
Needless to say, that’s a daunting task and one which only a very small handful of fighters have been able to do against Manny.
Garcia, despite being an outstanding fighter and ring tactician, is most likely not one of the members of the ultra-exclusive “shut down Pacquiao” club. He’ll give it a good go and win his fair share of moments, but beating him won’t be in the books. Ultimately, his own orthodox mindset and preference for order will make him vulnerable to Manny’s unorthodoxy and keep him one step behind.
Pacquiao wins a solid decision, provides Garcia with a very nice payday, and moves forward to one more bout in his legendary career.
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