Freddie Roach: "Danny Garcia is still my number one pick to fight Manny Pacquiao in June or July"
Immediately following the turn of the decade, the sport's only eight-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, reached another incredible milestone that more than likely won't be duplicated; The Pacman became the first fighter in the history of boxing to hold a major world title in four different decades.
The Filipino icon captured his first piece of boxing gold in 1998, by defeating Catchai Sasakul to become the WBC Flyweight champion at the tender age of 19, and hasn't looked back since.
Despite still having the desire to compete at the highest level of the sport in his fourth decade as a prizefighter, Senator Pacquiao is currently experiencing an unusual problem; a lack of realistic and lucrative options in the talent enriched Welterweight division.
In a recent interview with "Little Giant Boxing", head trainer Freddie Roach expounded on the quandary, as well as Pacquiao's latest amazing professional feat.
"I think Manny has done a lot of things that we're never going to see again. His manager Sean Gibbons called and asked me who I think would match up best with Manny style-wise, and I gave him my opinion because Manny does want to fight again at least one or two more times before he calls it quits."
"But we really don't know when it's going to end. Manny 's work ethic is still really, really good. Look how he did in his last fight. There are a couple of guys out there who are world champions that he can still beat."
While Manny has nothing left to prove to any of his longtime critics or observers, the 41-year-old ring legend feels compelled to compete again in a meaningful fight while he still can.
But here lies the problem. The fights that Manny and Freddie desire most may not be available at the moment.
Obviously the world-renowned boxing tandem would prefer another shot at another boxing legend's highly touted undefeated resume.
"Of course Manny would like to fight Mayweather one more time," stated Freddie Roach. "But can we get Floyd back in the ring? I don't think so."
"I think he's scared because Manny beat Thurman so easily. But that's just my opinion."
When Pacquiao decided to leave his longtime boxing promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank, Inc., and subsequently signed a three-fight deal with power adviser Al Haymon in 2018, the agreement was seemingly based on the premise of getting another shot at Floyd "Money" Mayweather.
In an announcement made earlier this week by Pacquiao's manager, Sean Gibbons, a return bout with Floyd isn't a realistic possibility any longer.
So who's next for the Pacman in 2020?
"We don't want to just be in boxing...we want to be a competitive fighter in boxing. Me and Manny talked about that for a long time. We don't want to fight just anybody and beat up 'nobodies'."
"We want fights that will be meaningful to the world. Danny Garcia is my number one pick."
Although it was rumored that Manny and current WBC/IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence would likely be participating in a unification bout this summer, Coach Roach doesn't necessarily favor that scenario for Manny at this time.
"I would love the Spence fight, but he was just in a really bad car accident. It would be his first fight back, and people might say he was sick or he was hurt from the accident...I think there would be a lot of excuses."
"So I think Danny Garcia is the best out there for Manny Pacquiao right now, and he did call Manny out that night after his last fight."
Despite rumors hovering around the boxing community that Spence and Garcia are currently negotiating towards a deal to fight this summer, Garcia remains Freddie and Manny's most viable opponent of choice.
Because Al Haymon couldn't deliver on his promise to get Mayweather back in the ring for a big-money return bout with Manny in 2020, should the powerful adviser urge his Philadelphia based client to let the legendary Pacman have his druthers, and work out a deal to face the ring legend for his Super WBA Welterweight title in June or July?
Of course, Haymon did give "his word" to Garcia that he would get his previously scheduled opportunity to face Errol Spence as soon as the former Olympian became healthy enough to compete again.
No one is exactly sure how the current 147-pound quandary will play out for Manny Pacquiao in 2020...but this is how it "should" happen in June and July:
Manny Pacquiao vs. Danny Garcia for the Pacman's Super WBA Welterweight Championship in June
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter (rematch) for the former Olympian's WBC and IBF Welterweight titles in July
The aforementioned match-ups should take place in consecutive months, with both winners potentially facing each other later within the final quarter of 2020.
Even though many critics and boxing experts are predicting 2020 to be the final year the 41-year-old Pacman will compete as a professional fighter, Coach Freddie warns doubters not to bet against the idea of Manny competing well into his 40's.
"Manny Pacquiao is still a great fighter, and his work ethic is still great. He doesn't cut corners...once he starts cutting corners, then I'll start worrying. Until then, we really don't know when his career will end."
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