By Nick Giongco
British promoter Eddie Hearn is pushing forward to import Manny Pacquiao sometime in late-June or early-July in Saudi Arabia.
Mikey Garcia celebrates after defeating Jessie Vargas in a unanimous decision in a WBC Welterweight Diamond Championship bout at The Ford Center at The Star on February 29, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images / AFP)
This developed after Mikey Garcia beat Jessie Vargas in a battle of Mexican-American punchers over the weekend in Frisco, Texas.
Hearn had floated the plan of staging a Pacquiao-Garcia duel in the Middle East after conferring with Paradigm Sports Management head Audie Attar the past few weeks.
Attar’s PSM had inked the 41-year-old Pacquiao to a management contract and Hearn is looking at Jeddah as site of the Filipino star’s first fight in 12 months.
Garcia (40-1 with 30 KOs) floored Vargas in the fifth round en route to a unanimous decision victory and the stocky Oxnard, California native didn’t hesitate to heed Hearn’s call to put up a show in the Middle East.
“I’m willing to fight anywhere,” Garcia said in his first fight in almost a year during the post-fight chat.
“Look, I would love to get in the ring with Manny (Pacquiao). It’s a fight that’s been mentioned and talked about for several years and now that I have a win in the welterweight division, I think people can actually consider me a viable contender. It’s been talked about for several years so I think with this victory it’s more accessible and I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao, he’s a living legend, I would love to share the ring with him.”
“Every ring has four ropes and four corners. You know, it don’t matter where it’s posted. You know, if it happens to go to Saudi, we’ve just gotta be out there early, in time, to get adjusted to the time. But, you know, inside that ring it doesn’t matter where the fight is at. We’re ready to go anywhere,” added Garcia, who dropped a lopsided decision to Errol Spence in Dallas in March 2019.
Manny Pacquiao celebrates his split-decision victory over Keith Thurman in their WBA welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP, File)
Pacquiao, whose last ring appearance was a huge win over previously undefeated Keith Thurman in Las Vegas in July 2019, remains tied up contractually with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and has grand plans for boxing’s only eight-division champion, said boxing man Sean Gibbons.