Mikey Garcia and Manny Pacquiao have a long history dating back nearly two decades, and now they could end up fighting in the ring.
Garcia (39-0, 30 KO's), who has won world titles in four different weight classes, and is near the top of boxing's pound-for-pound list, first sparred the eight-division world champion Pacquiao around 2002 when he was an amateur. We are told Pacquiao did not hold back.
At the time, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KO's), the current WBA welterweight "Regular" world champion, who will turn 40 on Dec. 17, was working with another future star, the late Edwin Valero.
Garcia, who is currently a two-belt unified world titleholder at 135-pounds, badly wants to face unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr., but it is improbable that he will fight him in December like he initially planned.
Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder and former beltholder Tyson Fury are expected to fight on November 10 or 17 in Las Vegas on Showtime pay-per-view, and Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza has stated that Garcia-Spence would be on pay-per-view, meaning the bout will have to be moved back to 2019 at the earliest.
"There is still more to come; I hope to achieve more things, more triumphs in boxing, so far it has been a very nice race, for my audience. Everything I do is for the public to be happy and with very special recognitions, not just for me but also for my family, for my dad, my brother, it fills me with emotion, it's a source of pride to represent my family and the public that supports me," said Garcia to ESPN Deportes.
"I would like to return before the end of the year, Errol Spence is the fight that interests me the most, the one that motivates me the most. We have also talked a little bit with Manny Pacquiao's team, and there is interest too," Garcia said.
Garcia also served as Pacquiao's sparring partner when the Filipino fought Erik Morales in a 2006 rematch, which Pacquiao won by 10th-round stoppage.
"I was his sparring partner for the whole camp...eight rounds, nine rounds at a time...straight.
"The way Morales fought him the first time and the way [Juan Manuel] Marquez fought him all the time, it gives Manny problems. When you box and actually counter him properly at the right time, it gives him problems. He is fast if you stand in front and let him throw punches," Garcia said of Pacquiao to FightHype in 2016.
Garcia was also interviewed in 2017 by FightHype about sparring Pacquiao and said he surprised him with a straight left. However, Garcia added that "Pacman" had trouble landing from that point on because he boxed smart.
"There were times where he would walk from the center of the ring because he couldn't catch me. He was having difficulties; he would go over to the ropes, and call me to come close because he wasn't able to get me."
But Garcia wants the significant risk, tremendous reward type of fights, and Spence (24-0, 21 KO's), 28, is the epitome of that.
"[Spence] is the biggest challenge, and maybe the most dangerous fight for me, but I feel capable, I feel comfortable, strong, fast, intelligent, experienced - I think I beat him. It's very dangerous, very risky, but it's something that I will get the most credit for, to beat a fighter like him.. winning another championship in the third division in 9 or 10 months.. it is something that nobody has achieved, and that's why I put that challenge out there."