KEY POINTS

  • Pacquiao-Garcia could happen in Saudi Arabia
  • Garcia will face Vargas in February 2020
  • Garcia must beat Vargas before getting chance at Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao’s next fight could be staged in the middle east as he is reportedly facing Mikey Garcia in his return to the ring next year.

An encore ensued following a successful event in Saudi Arabia that featured the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr. early this month. As fans clamored for more, promoters, including Eddie Hearn, believe that a Manny Pacquiao-headlined card could be the most ideal follow up for all boxing fans in the region who are said to be more than willing to break the bank in exchange for another top-level combat showdown.

“They want that [Pacquiao and Garcia] fight,” said Hearn. “They want the biggest of the biggest fights in Saudi Arabia. They have loads of money and are not going anywhere. If you get [a mega fight], they have the money for it. You know, if I’m going to do two shows in Saudi, they are going to be f—ing monsters … I’m getting approaches from everybody in the middle east to do fights, but right now, Saudi Arabia is the one who put the money up and the trust in us.”

But before Garcia gets the ticket to fight the legendary Filipino slugger, he must first past another welterweight test on February 2020 where he is scheduled to battle against Jessie Vargas for a chance at redemption in the said weight class. The 31-year-old American fighter last fought in March where he got exposed by Errol Spence Jr. in their IBF title bout at 147 lbs.

Aware of the scrutiny, Garcia vows to elevate his performance this time to prove his worth as a welterweight contender. After all, his name has been attached to the eight-division world champion for quite some time now, and a convincing win, according to Boxing Insider, “could push Garcia to the front of the line for that (Pacquiao) contest.”

“My last performance was horrible,” said Garcia. “The worse of my career and I feel that I need to make up for that. I gotta show my fans that there is much more to Mikey Garcia, even at 147. I should be fighting at a lower weight class but I want to show everyone that I can be a title challenger 147.”

Manny Pacquiao Manny Pacquiao trains during a workout session at The Venetian in Macau, Nov. 20, 2014. Photo: Getty Images/ Chris Hyde