Pacquiao-Garcia fight in Saudi looms in July

Roy Luarca
‘I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao or get a rematch with Errol Spence,’ says Mikey Garcia after dominating former world champion Jessie Vargas


POWER. Mikey Garcia knocks down Jessie Vargas in the 5th round during their WBC Welterweight Diamond Championship bout. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Mikey Garcia bested Jessie Vargas on Saturday, February 29 (Sunday, March 1, Philippine time) and moved in front of the pack chasing a fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Showing he belongs to the welterweight division, Garcia knocked down former world champion Vargas in the 5th round en route to a unanimous decision, 116-111, 116-111, 114-113, in the headliner of DAZN fight card at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

It was a strong rebound for Garcia, a four-division world champion, who bowed to Errol Spence by lopsided unanimous decision, in his first crack at the 147-pound division last March.

Opting to stay as welterweight rather than slide back to light welterweight, the 32-year-old Garcia, regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters, proved he made the right decision by posting his 40th win, 30 by knockout, against that lone loss to Spence.

During the post-fight interview, Garcia reiterated to have a megabuck fight against Pacquiao, or even a rematch with Spence, who suffered multiple injuries on a vehicular accident.

For now, Pacquiao is Garcia’s main target. 

“I think I can have big options. I’m ready to get back in with the best. I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao or get a rematch with Errol Spence. I think it would be a tremendous fight, and I’m better now at this weight class. I think I want to continue to campaign at 147 and search a title in my fifth division,” said Garcia. 

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn likes to give Garcia a megabuck bout against Pacquiao, the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion who hasn’t fought since handing erstwhile unbeaten Keith Thurman his first loss last July 20 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Hearn would like to stage it in Saudi Arabia, however, not in the United States.

“We’ll be doing an event in July in Saudi Arabia. We’d like that to be against Manny Pacquiao, and if Mikey Garcia is triumphant on Saturday, I’d like that to be Manny Pacquiao against Mikey Garcia,” Hearn told Fighthype earlier.

According to Hearn he has talked with Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports Management, which recently secured promotional rights for Pacquiao. (READ: Conor McGregor welcomes Pacquiao to same management firm)

Now that Garcia has done his part, he’s likely to be amply rewarded with a fight against the 41-year-old eight-division world champion in July. –