By Edward Chaykovsky
It's not exactly a secret, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum is very interested in a future fight between Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28KOs) and eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38KOs).
Garcia, the WBO's super featherweight champion, is likely having his last fight at 130-pounds on Saturday night, when he faces Juan Carlos Burgos at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. Top Rank would like to have Garcia test the waters at 135-pounds in his next fight, and the move forward to a potential fight with Pacquiao - possibly at the end of the year or in the first half of next year.
Garcia was front and center in Macau last November, watching his stablemate Brandon Rios get dominated by Pacquiao.
"Mikey will tell you himself. He was over in Macau when his stablemate, Brandon Rios fought Pacquiao, and he mentioned to some that down the road he would look forward to a fight with Manny Pacquiao. I am a big Mikey Garcia fans and I thought that would be good," Arum said.
Garcia uses Pacquiao's former strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza. During the build-up to Pacquiao-Rios in Macua, there was a heated confrontation between both camps and resulted in Ariza kicking Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach.
If a Pacquiao fight comes along, Garcia is not worried about the tension and plans to keep Ariza in his corner.
"I feel really good working with Ariza and you could see the results when he worked with Pacquiao. He kept moving up in divisions and dominated everyone. If we can do the same thing with me that only makes me a better fighter. We want the best team to help me perform the best. I don't want to move up in weight class because I am lazy and don't want to train hard. I will move up when my body is ready to go into that division and with Alex that will help me and I'll be a lot better than if he wasn't working with me," Garcia said.
"[When I saw Pacquiao in Macau], he looked good, he looked sharp. He was bobbing in-and-out and side-to-side with good footwork and good speed – it was definitely a good performance for Pacquiao. Down the road maybe I could face him and it would be a good fight was well."
"The only thing I can say is that his power may not be there as it used to be. He used to just steamroll over all of his opponents – knockout after knockout after knockout. He has had a couple of fights where he hasn’t been able to hit a knockout, so that’s the only thing. His skills are still there. He has been fighting better guys so that may be why he hasn’t been hurting them."