By: Sean Crose
“A dream turned reality,” Ryan Garcia tweeted in January. “It’s an honor to share the Ring with @mannypacquiao I will always respect what you did in and out the ring. Here’s to the best Man Winning.” Needless to say, Garcia’s post set the boxing world aflame. Here was Garcia, boxing’s hottest rising star, about to slip in between the ropes to face the one and only Manny Pacquiao, boxing’s lion in winter. Now, just over a month later, it’s clear the fight was never meant to be.
“It’s not my fault, ever,” the undefeated 22 year old told Fight Hub TV. “I always say yes to everything. If a fight ever falls through it’s because of the opposite side.” Yet Garcia went on to say that he didn’t fault Pacquiao for the bout not coming to fruition. “Manny’s a great fighter,” he said. “I’m sorry, he’s a legendary fighter, and is somebody I respect a lot in and out the ring. So, you know, it was just little things on his end that didn’t let the fight happen.”
Pacquiao, who is now well into his forties, is one of boxing’s greatest living icons. Having won championships in eight weight classes, few would conclude that the fighter – who is also a Filipino senator – isn’t an all time great. Yet the man hasn’t fought since he bested Keith Thurman for a WBA title back in the summer of 2019 and it’s clear he doesn’t have an unlimited amount of time or options with which to wrap up his stellar career with. That’s why Garcia, an explosive, but somewhat inexperienced 21-0 lightweight, seemed as if he might be a perfect foil.
Now, however, it looks as if Pacquiao may return to face another Garcia – as in the more seasoned Mikey Garcia, a 40-1 walking skill set who is popular and perhaps more challenging than the younger Garcia might prove to be. Not that the younger Garcia is angry about it – though it’s clear he must be disappointed. “He’s a legend,” he said to Fight Hub TV of Pacquiao. “He can do whatever he wants.” Speculation has been running high as to who Pacquiao will next step in the ring with. Although the answer may be close to settled now, such high profile names as Terence Crawford and UFC star Conor McGregor were thrown around as possible foils for the 62-7-2 fighter.
As for Garcia – with millions of social media followers, a Gatorade advertising deal, and prime years to grow into – the boxing world still appears to be his oyster.
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