All indications point to Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao heading back the ring to face former world champion Mikey Garcia for a non-title welterweight bout tentatively set in May in Dubai.
This will be Senator Pacquiao’s first fight since beating American world champion Keith Thurman via split decision last July 20, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After the Thurman fight, the 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2 win-loss-draw record with 39 knockouts) was sidelined for many months without a fight because of the pandemic.
Pacquiao said recently that negotiations with the 33-year-old Garcia (40-1 record with 30 knockouts) are ongoing, although he also mentioned the names of unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Terence Crawford as potential candidates.
“We are finalizing (who to fight). We are having ongoing negotiations with Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.,” said the eight-division world champion, who is presently in General Santos City.
Eventhough no other details were revealed, a contract prepared by Paradigm Sports Management President Audie Attaro is already in place for the senator to sign anytime.
Garcia, for his part, said in one of his interviews that he will be fighting Pacquiao in the Middle East.
“We are finalizing all of the details. We hope to get the exact date and location in the next few days,” Garcia told British reporter Jo Ankier in a candid interview four days ago.
“We are trying to get everything done for May. It’s been in the works for a long time. But now in the last few weeks, a month or so, we’ve been getting very close to finalizing this,” he said.
Garcia suffered defeat at the hands of unbeaten Spence Jr. via unanimous decision last March 16, 2019 to relinquish his International Boxing Federation welterweight belt and the vacant World Boxing Council diamond welterweight belt at the Arlington Stadium in Texas.
He came back successfully last February 29, 2020, scoring a unanimous decision win over Jessie Vargas at the Ford Center at the Star in Frisco, California.
Pacquiao recently started light training at the Forbes Village in Makati City, jogging, hitting the punching bag and doing other roadwork training, before flying to General Santos City last Friday.