From the moment Mikey Garcia notched his unanimous decision victory over Jessie Vargas this past Saturday in Frisco, Texas, the buzz started buzzing. The boxing rumor mill immediately kicked into gear to scream about Garcia fighting Manny Pacquiao next.
Sites ranging from the monstrous ESPN to miniscule one-writer blogs were suddenly all talking in unison about a fight that was, literally, little more than wishful thinking, a hope and a dream from half of the Garcia-Pacquiao equation. Garcia wanted a Manny fight for obvious reasons and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who had a one-fight deal to bring the Mexican American four-division former world champ to streaming service DAZN, had his own obvious reasons for courting a Garcia-Pacquiao fight.
Does STUBBORN Mikey Garcia deserve Manny Pacquiao fight now? Garcia: I can take Pacquiao out. DAZN optimistic Manny Pacquiao vs. Mikey Garcia deal gets made for July 11 in Saudi Arabia. Mikey Garcia calls for super fight with Manny Pacquiao after Jessie Vargas win. Mikey Garcia outpoints Jessie Vargas, targets Manny Pacquiao next.
The above was just a small sampling of actual headlines churned out following Garcia-Vargas. The talk of an impending July Mikey-Manny showdown in Saudi Arabia was everywhere, almost as if it were really programmed to happen or, for that matter, even being negotiated.
Hearn wasn’t misleading when he spoke to the press about it. He said that he was deadset on making the bout and was on his way to try doing so.
“I want to do the Manny Pacquiao fight. I’m going to get on that now,” Hearn told IFL TV. “As I said in the presser, ‘Me and Mikey, we’re kind of dating. We’re not in a confirmed relationship. It’s expensive but we work really well together.‘ I’ve got an option to promote his next fight, and I would like to do that against Manny Pacquiao.”
Again, the reality is that all of this Garcia-Pacquiao stuff is totally coming from just one side. People don’t even know if Pacquiao is legally able to negotiate a bout with Hearn. Manny has been fighting under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner and Sean Gibbons, trusted Pacquiao adviser and CEO of Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, recently told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that Manny is “1000% with PBC” and “has existing fights left with PBC.”
So, how and why are people being made to believe that Garcia-Pacquiao is imminent and destined to happen?
The “why” is easy. Hearn wants to keep Mikey “in house” by dangling that big-money Pacquiao fight out in front of him. Matchroom/DAZN only had the one-fight with Garcia, but they have the right to match any offer that comes his way next. It took a lot of money and effort to bring Mikey aboard and they want to keep him. Leading everyone to believe that a Pacquiao fight will happen is a win-win for Hearn because it keeps Mikey thinking that good things are on the verge of coming through. Plus, who knows, maybe all this buzz kickstarts something into happening.
The “how” in this scenario is even easier than the “why.”
All Hearn had to do was tell a few of the larger names in the boxing news business that he was working on Garcia-Pacquiao and watch as the news trickled down and around, picking up momentum as it went. In that all-important Saturday night to Monday afternoon boxing news cycle, where writers and sites are digging for content, floating a headline-friendly beauty of a rumor like this one is an easy way to get lots of cheap press.
Whether Mikey Garcia-Manny Pacquiao happens or not, well, that doesn’t really matter. The headlines and the buzz matter. Garcia’s name being passed around, making headlines and inspiring social media chatter, is all that really matters. It’s the hustle of promotion and the manipulation of the masses.
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