Danny top candidate for Manny Pacquiao

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Danny top candidate for Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines — It looks like former super WBA/WBC lightwelterweight and WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia may emerge the leading contender to challenge super WBA titlist Sen. Manny Pacquiao in April but the Philadelphia-born Puerto Rican has to overcome Ukraine’s Ivan Redkach convincingly on Jan. 25 to seal the deal.

Another Garcia, Mikey, is in the sweepstakes but his business ties with English promoter Eddie Hearn of DAZN may complicate negotiations for a Pacquiao duel.  Pacquiao is linked with Al Haymon whose Premier Boxing Champions stable lists Danny Garcia, WBO/WBC No. 1 Shawn Porter, WBC/IBF champion Errol Spence and WBA No. 1 Yordenis Ugas.

Aside from Pacquiao and Spence, the other world welterweight titleholders are the WBO’s Terence Crawford, IBO’s Sebastian Formella of Germany and regular WBA champion Alexander Besputin of Russia.  Crawford is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank while Formella is handled by Erol Ceylan of Hamburg and Besputin by Egis Klimas of Lithuania.

There’s no rush to shop for Pacquiao’s next opponent.  “If Danny wins on Jan. 25, he’s in the lead,” said MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons.  “Redkach is a tough guy who comes to fight but Danny should win.”  Another option is undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. who recently said he’s coming back from retirement to fight again this year.  Pacquiao is in Mayweather’s sights and the possibility of a rematch after their high-grossing 2015 fight is shaping up.  For Pacquiao, the likely scenario is to take on a challenger in April then battle Mayweather before the year ends.

Pacquiao’s chief trainer Buboy Fernandez has no wish list and is confident the Senator will overcome anyone in the opposite corner.  Freddie Roach, however, said while it’s Pacquiao’s call to decide on whom to fight, Danny Garcia is his personal choice.  Four years ago, Roach had Danny in mind but the fight never pushed through.  “That’s the easiest fight in the world, you can tell his dad (Angel) that,” said Roach.  “His dad psyched Amir Khan out but he won’t psych Pacquiao out, I promise.  Pacquiao will knock Danny out.  I like his dad but he talks too much.”

Danny’s father started training his son at the age of 10.  He’s known as an obnoxious trash-talker once described by Boxing News of London writer Carlos Acevedo as “a blowhard of Falstaffian proportions.”  It was Acevedo who said Danny “boasts one of the strongest resumes in boxing.”  Garcia’s victims include Robert Guerrero, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah, Khan, Kendall Holt, Nate Campbell and Erik Morales twice.  Acevedo said, “ultimately, determination – combined with solid fundamentals – is what makes Garcia a much tougher assignment than most expect to encounter based on a skillset devoid of flash and filigree.”  Garcia, 31, has a 35-2 record, with 21 KOs and his only losses were to Porter and Keith Thurman on points.  He’s been receiving million dollar paychecks since his second win over Morales in 2012 with his biggest purse of $2 million coming in the Thurman bout in 2017.  Garcia lost to Thurman by a split decision while Pacquiao beat Thurman by a split decision last July.

Danny Garcia

Garcia is ranked No. 1 by WBO and No. 2 by WBC, WBA and IBO.  If he isn’t picked as Pacquiao’s next opponent, Porter could fill in.  Porter, ranked No. 1 by WBC and IBO, used to be Pacquiao’s sparring partner.  A former IBF and WBC welterweight champion, the 32-year-old Porter has a 30-3-1 record, with 17 KOs.  What’s going against Porter is he’s coming off a loss to Spence by a split decision last September.  Spence figured in a car accident in Dallas last October and was confined in the hospital for six days.  It’s not certain when he is able to return to the gym.  A report said he suffered a broken jaw in the accident.

It would be mind-boggling if Pacquiao fights in the Las Vegas Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium which is due to be opened on July 31.  The $1.8 billion domed venue sits 72,000 for football and 61,000 for soccer.  If Pacquiao faces Mayweather late this year, it could be held at Allegiant.

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