MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao continues to be a source of motivation for the sport's up-and-coming stars.
Ryan Garcia, one of the most popular young boxers right now, has made it clear that he wants to fight the "Pacman" one day even though they currently fight in separate divisions.
"That's the dream," said the 22-year-old Garcia of a fight against Pacquiao, as quoted by Boxing Scene.
Garcia is currently campaigning at the lightweight division and is coming off a seventh-round stoppage of Luke Campbell -- an impressive effort that saw him recover from a second-round knockdown.
The win improved Garcia's record to 21-0 with 18 knockouts, and put him in line for bigger fights down the road. Now the interim WBC lightweight champion, Garcia is angling for a fight against Devin Haney or WBA champion Gervonta Davis.
But a potential showdown against the "Pacman" is also on his mind.
"Manny is a legend, and it would be like surpassing him, in the humblest way," said Garcia, who boasts of over 8 million followers on Instagram. "I don't want this to sound like I'm being disrespectful. Manny knows my respect for him."
"People love him because he fights with his heart. You don't even have to tell people to respect him, because more than one entire country supports him," Garcia added.
A "dream fight" against Pacquiao may remain just that -- a dream -- for Garcia in the near future, however.
The Filipino boxer has not fought since July 2019, when he claimed a split decision victory in a thrilling bout against Keith Thurman to become the WBA welterweight champion.
In an interview in December, Pacquiao said he wants to fight at least once in 2021, and is eyeing a showdown with former UFC champion Conor McGregor. Bouts against welterweight champions Errol Spence and Terence Crawford are also possible.