DALLAS—Ryan Garcia has not at all been cryptic in his desire to clean out the lightweight division, though the dream fight which he most craves is much bigger in notoriety and in size.
The unbeaten lightweight contender remains supremely confident ahead of Saturday’s interim title fight versus England’s Luke Campbell, to the point where Garcia is calling out his next opponent. On the short list of big fights in the 22-year old’s future is a showdown with fellow unbeaten budding superstar Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (24-0, 23KOs), with the intention of lining up that fight in the first half of 2021.
Somewhere down the road, he seeks a path that will leave him as the undisputed champion by the end of the year or early into 2022.
“After I beat Luke Campbell, I definitely want to fight Tank Davis next,” Garcia reiterated to BoxingScene.com. “Gervonta Davis is next on my list. Maybe [WBC lightweight titlist] Devin Haney can fight Teofimo [Lopez, lineal lightweight champion and WBA/IBF/WBO titlist] and after that I can fight the winner.”
Somewhere in between, Garcia seeks the scalp of one of the greatest to ever lace ‘em up.
“After Tank and before I fight the winner of Devin and Teofimo, maybe I can get my dream fight with Manny Pacquiao,” insists Garcia, repeating a claim he's made in the past, despite it never previously gaining much traction. “After I beat Tank Davis, my dream fight is to get to Manny Pacquiao before gets to go from the sport.”
Garcia (20-0, 17KOs) was just 10 years old and still early into his amateur career when Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) forced Oscar de la Hoya into retirement following a stoppage after eight rounds in their Dec. 2008 superfight. Another eight years would pass by before Garcia turned pro, signing with de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions by the end of 2016.
By that point, Pacquíao had already etched his name into the record books with eight divisional titles including lineal championships at flyweight, featherweight, junior welterweight and welterweight. The Filipino southpaw still holds a welterweight belt even at age 42 and spending more time as a senator in his native Philippines than as a full-time boxer, though remaining one of the sport’s most viable draws.
García has never fought any heavier than lightweight, although the same was true at the time Pacquiao moved up two weight divisions to face de la Hoya. With a 20-year age difference between the two, García isn’t averse to replicating that type of history for the sake of chasing his dreams.
“Manny Pacquiao is one of my idols,” notes García. “He’s someone I look up to and is one of the last remaining legends still in the sport. It would be an honor to get him in the ring, maybe we can do it at 140 or even at 147 if I have to move up (that far) to get in the ring with him.
“After that, I can fight the winner of Devin Haney and Teofimo for the undisputed lightweight championship.”
Before all of that comes what on paper figures to be García’s toughest test to date versus Campbell (20-3, 16KOs), a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and two-time title challenger. Their interim title fight tops a DAZN-televised card Saturday afternoon from American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox