Ryan Garcia Says He Will Fight Manny Pacquiao in IG Post: 'Dream Turned Reality'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2021

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2019 file photo, Ryan Garcia, looks on after landing a punch to Romero Duno (not seen) during their lightweight boxing match in Las Vegas.   Garcia meets Britain’s Luke Campbell, a 2012 Olympic champion, in an interim WBC lightweight title fight. The bout was postponed a month and moved from California after Campbell tested positive for COVID-19.(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)
Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

Ryan Garcia added more fuel to speculation about an upcoming fight against Manny Pacquiao, announcing an apparent agreement with the legendary star.

"A dream turned reality," Garcia wrote Sunday on Instagram. "It's an honor to share the Ring with @mannypacquiao I will always respect what you did in and out the ring. Here's to the best Man Winning."

The Athletic's Mike Coppinger reported Sunday morning the camps for Garcia and Pacquiao had held "preliminary discussions."

Pacquiao hasn't stepped inside the ring since his split-decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019. He's riding a three-fight winning streak following his shocking loss to Jeff Horn in 2017.

Jayke Joson, an aide for the 42-year-old, signaled in September a fight with UFC star Conor McGregor could be on the cards.

Pacquiao referenced a possible encounter as well:

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McGregor suffered a second-round TKO loss to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on Saturday. As a result, returning to boxing to face off with Pacquiao may now be off the table, theoretically opening the door for Garcia.

The 22-year-old is unbeaten with 18 knockouts in his first 21 fights. He most recently dispatched of Luke Campbell on Jan. 2.

Accepting an offer from Pacquiao would be a no-brainer for Garcia.

Beyond his name recognition, Pacquiao is two weight classes above Garcia. This would be the biggest win of Garcia's career, and his stock wouldn't take much of a hit in the event he lost.

The obvious question, however, is why one of the best welterweights in the world would sign on to oppose a young up-and-coming lightweight. A victory wouldn't change much for Pacquiao, and Garcia isn't a big pay-per-view draw yet.

Combat sports fans expected to see a big ripple effect from McGregor's defeat. This probably isn't what they had in mind, though.