Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and WBO super featherweight champion Mikey Garcia
Mikey Garcia being groomed against Pacquiao, analyst says
MANILA, Philippines – Boxing promoter Bob Arum is allegedly mapping out plans for Manny Pacquiao’s eventual exit from the boxing scene by setting the Filipino fighter up against a younger and future pay-per-view draw.
According to ESPN’s Dan Rafael, Top Rank is grooming WBO super featherweight champion Mikey Garcia for a future welterweight fight against Pacquiao in two years.
“Basically they know Manny is near the end,” Rafael said in ESPN’s Sports Nation chat. “They want to establish Garcia as a PPV guy since Top Rank has no other PPV guys.”
Rafael believes Top Rank is setting up Pacquiao in the same way Oscar de la Hoya’s demise was arranged when he was pitted against the Filipino superstar in 2008.
“They are taking a page out of the Oscar-Pacquiao book. Make a new star by having beat the old star, if he can,” he said.
To do that, Rafael said Top Rank will have to accelerate Garcia’s growth as a fighter, making the Mexican-American climb weight classes like what Pacquiao did.
Garcia has been campaigning in the featherweight and super featherweight ranks and will have to climb three weight classes before reaching Pacquiao’s level.
“It won’t take two years to move up to 140 (junior welterweight). Garcia defends his 130 title on January 25 vs. (Juan Carlos) Burgos and in his next fight he is moving up. Might take a fight at lightweight and then on to 140,” Rafael said.
Pacquiao began his sensational rise in boxing when he defeated South Africa’s Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001. But it was only in 2008, when he outclassed a taller Dela Hoya, that he became a global sports superstar.