By: Hans Themistode
Nothing is official just yet, but according to former four-division world champion Mikey Garcia, his contest against Manny Pacquiao is reaching the home stretch.
Earlier this week, Garcia announced that after spending years chasing the future Hall of Famer, their showdown is just about complete. In the eyes of many, Pacquiao will be a conformable favorite going in. Yet, in the opinion of welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr., he believes Garcia is going to outclass him.
“Mikey smokes him,” said Ortiz Jr. during an interview with ESNews.
Despite being only 22-years-old, Ortiz Jr. knows his boxing history. So much so, that he’s rewatched Pacquiao’s four contests with Juan Manuel Marquez.
All in all, the two all-time greats faced each other on four occasions. More times than not, Pacquiao picked up the win going 2-1-1 in their four meetings. Regardless of his success though, every single one of their showdowns was razor close.
With Pacquiao’s tendency to struggle with his long-time rival, Ortiz Jr. is under the impression that he won’t stand a chance against someone who is essentially twice as good as Marquez.
“Mikey is a better version of Marquez. I think he’s smarter, more explosive and I think he’s stronger than him.”
For Garcia, the praise he’s receiving from Ortiz Jr. might be flattering but he’ll need much more than that to convince the majority of boxing fans of his chances against Pacquiao.
Most of the dubious voices surrounding Garcia stem from his awful showing against unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in early 2019.
After pushing forward with the narrative that he could move up two weight divisions and not only compete with Spence Jr. but flat out beat him, Garcia was made to look like a fool as he was dominated for every second of every round.
The Mexican native has since demonstrated that he can at the very least, hang with the best at 147 pounds as he thoroughly dominated former two-division champion, Jessie Vargas, in February of 2020. As for Pacquiao, he was last seen in the ring roughly a year and a half ago in 2019.
The future first-ballot Hall of Famer proved that he still has plenty left in his 42-year-old tank as he dropped and out mostly outclassed former WBA belt holder Keith Thurman.
While it was a great performance, Ortiz Jr. is still standing firmly in the corner of Garcia. In the welterweight contender’s opinion, he’s shared the ring on too many occasions with Garcia to start doubting him now.
“Mikey is the only boxer who’s broken me down in the ring. I’ve gotten ten times better just sparring Mikey than I ever did sparring anyone else.”