Can Pac vs Garcia Break the Ice?
According to Ring Magazine, Oscar de la Hoya and Bob Arum are scheduled to meet in the coming days to talk concretely about a major development in professional boxing. A potential clash between Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao and undisputed super-lightweight champion Danny Garcia may be in the works, and should it come to fruition, Pacquiao vs Garcia will represent a major turning point in the long struggle known to boxing aficionados as the promotional “Cold War.”
But boxing fans should hold their horses, since Pacquiao is scheduled to defend his WBO welterweight belt on November 22 in Macau, China, against Chris Algieri. And the fact that Pacquiao–still considered the second biggest draw in boxing–is fighting Algieri is itself a direct product of the Cold War, in which Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank have for years refused to do business with each other.
Despite having shown both talent and punching power in defeating the Siberian Rocky Ruslan Provodnikov back in June, Algieri is considered by most observers to rank a notch or two below the elite echelon that Pacquiao occupies. Nonetheless, having already made the rounds through Top Rank’s diminished welterweight stable and in dire need of a welterweight opponent, Pacquiao wasted little time signing up for Arum’s offer of Algieri; ever since the contract was inked, Uncle Bob has wasted gallons of dye in trying to paint the pairing as anything other than a mismatch.
Danny Garcia, on the other hand, was last seen in the ring less than a month ago when he knocked out the the unfortunate Rod Salka in what looked to everyone as a perfect enactment of a wolverine feasting on a rat. And even though it was only about a year ago that Danny impressed the boxing world with his victory over Lucas Matthysse, his only other performance since–a gift decision over unheralded Mauricio Herrera–makes it seem like it was ages ago that there was a Danny Garcia fight worth getting out of bed for.
So we can safely assume that most fans would joyously accept to endure Pacquiao vs. Algieri if it led to Pacquiao vs. Garcia. The first and obvious reason for this is that Pacquiao vs. Garcia would be a hell of a fight between two top-tier talents badly in need of a real challenge. For some unexplainable reason, Danny Garcia has been reluctant to move up in weight to challenge the plethora of talented welterweights in Golden Boy’s stable, instead milking his belts for juicy checks against unworthy opposition. All the while, Pacquiao has grown tired of beating up Top Rankers not named Juan Manuel Marquez while exploiting his name recognition and charisma.
Pacquiao vs. Garcia would be a genuine pick’em fight, pitting as it would Pacquiao’s vaunted offense, speed and experience against young Danny’s skills, power and adaptability. But perhaps more importantly, the significance of such a big inter-promotional fight finally occurring would be a major sign that things are finally moving in the right direction in boxing after years of having to put up with promoters’ misguided and selfish shenanigans. Fans are surely salivating at the prospect of potential fights between big name welterweights from both sides of the aisle. In fact, the very future of professional boxing could get a much needed boost, as up-and-comers across the board and from all weight classes–think names like Keith Thurman, Mikey Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko–would benefit greatly from an enhanced pool of possible opponents.
It remains to be seen whether that is the scenario that will unfold in the coming months and years, but all great journeys begin with a single step. By extending an olive branch to his former promoter and business rival, Oscar De La Hoya may be taking a very important step that makes sense for every stakeholder in the sport; fans, promoters and fighters will all stand to win should the Cold War finally end. For the sake of the sport, let’s root for Oscar and Bob to keep going down the path of reconciliation. — Rafael Garcia