Garcia to prove worth against Manny

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  • If former WBC welterweight and WBA/WBC super lightweight champion Danny Garcia hopes to hit the jackpot with a fight against WBA welterweight titlist Sen. Manny Pacquiao, he has to win convincingly over US-born Mexican Adrian Granados at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson City on April 20.

    Las Vegas international matchmaker Sean Gibbons said the other day Garcia and “super” WBA welterweight ruler Keith Thurman are the leading candidates to be Pacquiao’s next opponent although at the moment, plans are still “up in the air.” How Garcia performs against Granados could make or break his chances in the sweepstakes.

    “We might wait and see what happens with Garcia (against Granados),” said Gibbons. “The names tossed out there are still Thurman and Garcia. We need to make some decisions soon.” Gibbons said it’s 50-50 that Pacquiao will fight Thurman to unify the WBA 147-pound championship on July 13. Pacquiao’s trainer Buboy Fernandez said earlier that he expects the next fight to be in August or September.

    But Gibbons said a July date is “very possible” and confirmed that talks are ongoing to make it happen. He added that waiting until August or September may be too long. Pacquiao, however, is involved in campaigning for candidates in the May 13 elections and Fernandez himself is running for Vice Mayor in Polangui, Albay. If a July fight is set, Pacquiao and Fernandez will need at least eight weeks to prepare after a US promo tour. The schedule may be too tight to squeeze in a July appointment.

    Undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. appears to be out of the picture with his recent declaration that he’ll stay retired. He was in the country for a visit to Boracay and Manila last week and according to Gibbons, never reached out to Pacquiao. While going down an escalator at a Manila shopping mall, Mayweather heard a woman shout, “I don’t like you, you’re chicken,” obviously referring to his refusal to engage Pacquiao in a rematch. Mayweather turned to the woman and gave a thumbs-up sign with a smile. He couldn’t care less what people say about him.

    Garcia, 31, has a lot to prove against Granados who went the distance in losing to Adrien Broner and WBC welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter. Granados, 29, has a 74-inch wingspan compared to Garcia’s 68 1/2 and could pose a problem because of his length. Five of his six losses were either by split or majority decision and his last two fights were KO wins. His weakness is defense. He went down twice to Mark Salser in 2013, twice to Felix Diaz in 2014 and once to Frankie Gomez in 2011. The quality of his opposition is questionable.

    Garcia is a come-forward type of fighter and won’t be afraid to mix it up with Pacquiao. He has lost only twice in his career to Porter and Thurman, both on points. His record is 34-2, with 20 KOs. Garcia became a household name in boxing when he brutalized Erik Morales twice in 2012. Three of his other victims were Lucas Matthysse, Zab Judah and Amir Khan.

    Thurman, 30, wears the “super” WBA welterweight belt while Pacquiao owns the “regular” WBA version. There’s no significant difference. The WBA likes to recognize as many world champions as possible because the more title fights it sanctions, the more fees it pockets. If Pacquiao and Thurman face off, the winner will be the sole WBA champion so the unification angle makes it a step higher in prestige than a Pacquiao defense against Garcia.

    Thurman defeated Garcia by a split decision in 2017 then took a 22-month layoff to heal from an elbow surgery and an injured hand. He returned to survive a few shaky moments in outpointing Josesito Lopez via a majority 12-round verdict in Brooklyn last January. The fighter known as “One Time” has a 29-0 record, with 22 KOs so whether Pacquiao can put a stain on his pristine record or not is something fans would pay good money for to find out. (J. Henson, philboxing.com)

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