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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Garcia's MSG scrap a prep for Pacquiao?

By Michael Woods

Mikey Garcia defends his 130-pound crown, the WBO version, on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, but in the future, perhaps the near future, he could be packing on the pounds and doing his work at a much higher weight class.

Garcia could well skip 135 and 140, and fight at 147 pounds if he is offered a Manny Pacquiao scratch ticket. The California-based boxer, who clashes with underdog Juan Carlos Burgos in NYC, has been mentioned as a possible foe for welter ace Pacquiao. The Congressman is fighting April 12, with many insiders saying that Timothy Bradley, in a rematch of their 2012 clash, will be the dance partner.

But after that, Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum has said, Garcia could well be in the mix for a waltz with Pacman.

Mikey's brother Robert, a former fighter who trains him along with dad Eduardo, told NY Fightblog during a Tuesday media workout in NYC that Mikey could gain the weight and stay fast. "His last fight at 126 pounds was a year ago," he said. "Since then, he's just gotten big! He couldn't make 126 against Juan Manuel Lopez [in June 2013], he came in at 128 1/2, everyone saw what he went through to make it. It's not easy for him to make 130. Our next move could be 135, even 140."

A buck thirty isn't a sexy weight class, with no standout names which draw money in the US, so a move up makes sense from that standpoint. Garcia, though, kept coming back to the Saturday task, smartly. "We gotta take it fight by fight," he said.

"As a fan, I would like to see Pacquaio versus Mayweather. That's a fight that everyone has wanted the last five, six, seven years, it never happened, maybe never will. For business, no I don't want them to fight, because I think Mayweather beats Pacquiao, and that makes a Pacquiao-Mikey Garcia fight less interesting. I want to be able to fight Pacquiao when he's on a winning streak. If Manny fights Timothy Bradley, who knows what could happen? Bradley is on a winning streak, he looked sensational in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. If Manny does fight Bradley and loses, we might still get him, but there might not be the same interest."

Manny and Mikey have a history, Robert said, having sparred before Manny fought Erik Morales in November 2006. "They sparred six, eight rounds at a time, it was great. We're not saying Mikey did better or won those sparring matches, no, but neither did Pacquiao. I'm not saying Pacquiao put beatings on Mikey, either. That was sparring, though."

Marquez has given Manny fits, and Robert says that Mikey has a similar style, with an ability to be a savvy counterpuncher who exploits mistakes. "And Mikey has maybe more power than Marquez," he said. "He's already 40, Mikey is 26. I think we got a good shot. I'm not saying it's easy, but we got a good shot."

Another name that has popped up frequently for Garcia is Yuriorkis Gamboa, the Cuban defector who has been inactive in the ring.

"Gamboa, lately, hasn't really done much in boxing," Robert Garcia said. "He's fought twice in the last three years, and that tells you he's hurting for a big fight." Even with his inactivity, because of his skill set, Gamboa does conjure buzz, so if Mikey doesn't land Manny next, a clash against the 32-year-old Cuban would be a solid fallback plan, in my opinion. "But him coming out and saying what he's saying, it's actually pushing us away from the fight," the trainer said. "We might just skip him and go straight to 140."