WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao could face Mikey Garcia in his ring return next year.
Pacquiao bounced back from his close decision loss to Jeff Horn in Australia two years ago with victories over Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman.
The 40-year-old superstar overcame the previously undefeated Thurman in July before announcing he will take the rest of the year off to concentrate on his senatorial duties in his native Philippines.
Garcia moved up two weight classes to welterweight in March to challenge IBF champion Errol Spence Jr, losing a wide unanimous decision to the Texan champion.
But the Californian remains adamant he can make a mark on the 147-pound weight class.
“What I want to do is I want to see what options are available,” said Garcia.
“We’ve got 140 or 147 for my return fight, but I do want to pursue another title shot at 147, I really do.
“So at that time we’ll see who is available, which champion is available and willing to give me a shot.
“My next fight might be at 140, it might be at 147, I’m not sure yet. I’ve got to explore those options.
“But my next fight won’t be at 135, and that’s the reason why we’re vacating the lightweight title, to pursue other options.”
Garcia’s father Peter hinted that a deal for the former lightweight champion’s next fight could be announced very soon.
“Whenever he doesn’t have a fight, he spars two times a week… but since two weeks ago, he’s been coming five times a week,” Peter Garcia of Team Garcia told FightHype.
“My grandpa said, ‘He’s going to get a date soon. He doesn’t come on Tuesdays when he doesn’t have a fight coming up.’
“It’s still in negotiations. It’s a fight that me, my dad and my grandpa like at welterweight.”
Pacquiao’s assistant coach Freddie Roach was asked about the Garcia fight following the Thurman victory.
“Mikey Garcia is he out there? I love that fight, I like that fight for Manny,” Roach said.
“I think Manny destroys (Garcia).”
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