Four-division former world champ Mikey Garcia has been pining away for a Manny Pacquiao blockbuster bout for years now. His entire run at welterweight– which has been a mixed bag of success– may have actually been built around reeling in that big payday Pacquiao clash.
But, more than two years into his welterweight run and more or less five years into his “I want Manny” fixation, nothing has come of it. Even now, as viable options for Pacquiao and his return to the ring have gradually fallen to the side of the road, Garcia has nothing concrete when it comes to the big one he wants. And, at 33 years of age, with 15 months away from the ring, the Southern California native can’t afford to wait much longer for the fight to be pieced together.
“We’ve always been interested in a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Last few months, the conversations came up many, many times,” Garcia recently told Dan Rafael of World Boxing News as he attended last Saturday’s Saul Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders bout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. “We started developing a good idea, a plan, a proposal, but it hasn’t really happened. Nothing solid. So, if that’s the case, I’m ready to move on and search for another fight, possibly to get a fight in July, August and maybe that could set me up for something bigger before the end of the year…I’m ready to get back in the ring. That’s what I want to do. I want to get back in the ring, show my fans and everybody that I’m here, that I haven’t left.”
Garcia feels that, while a fight is “almost there,” almost ready to be put on paper, things have been hampered by the general complexity of Pacquiao’s business deals and the sheer number of those around the Filipino icon who claim to have say-so regarding his business dealings.
“Everybody around him is a manager,” Garcia added. “Everybody around him is the one adviser you gotta talk to…And so sometimes I get one guy telling me this is a done deal, we’re ready to go. And then someone else says, ‘no, no, no, we need something else.’
“It’s always, ‘Manny loves the fight with you, it’ll be a 12-round fight; obviously, it will be a big event. He loves the idea of fighting you.’ They’ve mentioned (fighting) in Saudi Arabia. They mention Los Angeles. They mention possibly here in Texas. So, we’ve had conversations, but it has never really solidified. There’s always something missing or something keeps it from happening.”
So, Garcia may be at the point where he has to hear something very soon or he’ll have no choice but to move on and pursue another fight with someone else. Even though his dealings as a promotional free agent have bagged him some nice purses since splitting with Top Rank, one can only go so long without a payday. Plus, a fighter starting to move towards the downside of his physical prime, like Garcia, needs to stay active and keep his name in the public eye. He simply can’t wait around forever.
The urgency to get back into the ring should be there for Pacquiao as well. At 42 years of age, this could very well be his last fight or, at the very least, next to last. But, of course, Pacquiao is winding down a legendary career, has (hopefully) an obscene amount of savings, and his gig in politics as Senator in the Philippines and possible presidential candidate. If he calls it a career right now, his livelihood and his legacy will not be affected.
Garcia, on the other hand, needs to keep fighting. Every moment he’s not working towards a fight is money lost and legacy limited.
Just in terms of fairness, Team Pacquiao should make a firm commitment to Mikey, even as they hammer out the money issues and logistics concerns regarding an upcoming bout, or they should just tell him, in no uncertain terms, to move on and look for another opponent. Just don’t leave the guy hanging.