Ryan Garcia is ready to rebound and revive his career following a knockout loss to Gervonta Davis.
Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) will move forward with new trainer Derrick James as a super lightweight the next time he steps into the ring. The 140-pound division is one that Garcia has competed in twice before getting stopped by Davis during a 136-pound catchweight in April.
Over the last week, the 24-year-old Garcia has been throwing out feelers on social media on who he should face next. First, he lobbed the idea of Rolando Romero on Saturday. On Tuesday, he mentioned the recently minted 140-pound WBA champion Romero again while acknowledging that earlier this week Romero had a mandatory fight ordered by the WBA to defend his title against Ohara Davies.
Garcia also listed career-long lightweight Isaac Cruz as a desired next opponent, but with a caveat that Cruz must climb to the super lightweight limit in order for a potential clash to be possible.
Garcia also mentioned Teofimo Lopez as someone he’d like to face. Lopez faces Josh Taylor on June 10, and after Garcia initially noted he would like to face Lopez “depending on the outcome,” he immediately clarified his stance and said “either way.”
“I like involving the fans in my decisions. Some will say that’s not good but I think it is good for the sport. [Whether] it’s negative feedback or good,” said Garcia after sharing his preferred trio of next foes.
And then there was the wild card opponent – Manny Pacquiao – floated once again by Garcia promoter Oscar De La Hoya on Wednesday.
“It's a very real option for both guys. Imagine a fight at a catchweight. It can be the biggest fight for both guys,” De La Hoya said in an interview with Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub TV. “I can see that fight happening at 142, 143 pounds maybe. Ryan Garcia is a big kid. Alongside Romero, Cruz, and Lopez, who Ryan mentioned, I think Manny Pacquiao is the biggest fight that can be made.
“It all depends on what Ryan is feeling. We all know that he doesn't like tune-ups ... we're hoping by September, or October he can come back and fight.”
Hours after the De La Hoya’s comments were made public, Garcia took to social media and shot down the idea of a Pacquiao fight, writing: “This isn’t happening! I said what I wanted. It’s frustrating – tired of this.”
Garcia and Pacquiao’s camps were in serious talks for a fight in January 2021 but a deal never crossed the finish line. Pacquiao instead wound up facing Yordenis Ugas in August 2021, lost his welterweight title, and later announced his retirement.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought professionally since losing to Ugas, but he did compete in an exhibition and has not shut down overtures in recent weeks about a potential return to the ring.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.