Manny Pacquiao vs Mikey Garcia: Expert explains how Pac can win
Last week, eight-division world champion and ring legend Manny Pacquiao stated during an interview with ANC 24/7 that he hopes to make his highly anticipated return to the ring in July.
"My plan is to fight again and get back in the ring the second or third week of July," said the Pacman to ABS-CBN in the Philippines. "Training should start in April."
Although Manny didn't specify an opponent for a targeted July date, many experts believe he will be defending his Super WBA Welterweight title against pound for pound combatant Mikey Garcia. While the 41-year-old champion will more than likely be listed as the odds on favorite to defeat the four-division world titlist, most experienced trainers and fighters view the Mexican-American fighter to be a potentially problematic style match-up for Senator Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao vs Mikey Garcia
Because Garcia is a prolific counter puncher, many critics have stated that a fight with Mikey could resemble Manny's epic fourth meeting with Mexican fight legend Juan Manuel Marquez, in which Pacquiao was stopped with a perfectly timed right hand.
On a recent episode of FightSaga Radio, expert strategist and boxing coach James Gogue pointed out a characteristic that Mikey doesn't share with JMM; a trait that seemed to give the Pacman problems each time both fighters met in the ring.
"Mikey doesn't counter in combination like Juan Manuel Marquez, which gave Pacquiao problems in all four of their fights together," says the three-decade fight trainer. "He's more of a sniper and doesn't throw as often with creative combinations to the body and head. He's much more predictable than Marquez with his offensive output."
"But Garcia can punch and his understanding of timing and range is impressive. His ability to counter with power could give him an advantage in this match-up against a 41-year-old Manny Pacquiao."
In July of 2019, Pacquiao seemed to turn back the clock and put forth an inspired performance against previously undefeated WBA champion Keith "One Time" Thurman. Manny floored the incumbent title holder en route to scoring an impressive split decision victory.
Coach Gogue believes that Pacquiao can defeat Garcia if he implements a similar strategy.
"Manny has to feint him a lot," claims James Gogue.
"Mikey is a counter puncher by trade. What do you do to freeze a counter puncher? You use a lot of feints to disrupt his timing and rhythm."
"He also has to throw fast combinations then quickly pivot around him...in other words, Manny has to be Manny."
"Straight left hand to the body and come back to the head with that short, compact right hook. The same combinations and sporadic movement he used to beat a very good, undefeated fighter like Keith Thurman. Speed, angles and experience will be key."
"In and out movement, different angles, circling around him and not coming straight at him...not lunging in from mid-range like he did against JMM in their final fight. He could get caught once again with a right hand as he's coming in if he does that."
The 58-year-old strategist also points out that the future Hall of Famer's chances for victory ultimately depends on whether or not he can still perform with the same intensity at age 41. Despite still looking like a young and energetic pugilist in his most recent performance, Gogue claims that every combatant slows down eventually.
"If Manny is still the Pacman at age 41, he has a very good chance of defeating Mikey Garcia. But you never know when a fighter is going to slow down and get to the point where he can't pull the trigger anymore. It seemingly happens overnight in boxing. A fighter's reflexes aren't as quick and he starts getting hit more."
"That can happen in one fight...we'll see how Manny looks in July."
Fight fans will hopefully get to see whether or not the legendary Pacman still has what it takes to defeat the recognized top fighters of the talented 147-pound division in July.
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