Bob Arum grooming Mikey Garcia as future Manny Pacquiao opponent

There is no love lost between trainers Freddie Roach and Robert Garcia. Their rivalry started then Manny Pacquiao faced Antonio Margarito for the WBC super welterweight champion. Back then, Roach called Garcia a bad trainer for allowing his fighter to take a tremendous amount of punishment at the hands of Pacquiao.

If Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum’s plans come true, this rivalry will grow even deeper. In an interview with Ring Magazine’s Lem Satterfield, Arum expressed his plans to groom Mikey Garcia, the trainer’s younger brother, to be a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao.

"He indicated to various people that down the road, he would look forward to a battle with Manny Pacquiao” Arum said. “Why wouldn't it be good? Of course that was my thought. I'm a big Mikey Garcia fan."

Garcia (33-0, 28 knockouts) the reigning WBO junior lightweight champion, will defend his title for the first time as he faces Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs) on Jan. 25.

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"I really believe that Mikey is a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter right now," said Arum. "I believe that long term, Mikey will challenge, if not be universally accepted as the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. I think he's a complete fighter."

The list of possible opponents is dwindling for Pacquiao. Other than Timothy Bradley, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Robert Guerrero, there aren’t really other names that could be considered as possible opponents for the eight-division world champion. Garcia and Pacquiao may be separated by a couple of divisions right now but it’s not hard to imagine the two crossing paths before Pacquiao ends his career.

"He has great technique, he has a very, very good defense, and he is a very powerful puncher and when he throws his punches, it's with great intent," Arum said of Garcia. "He doesn't waste a lot of punches. He measures his opponent and then throws his punches accordingly and with a lot of power. So he's a complete fighter, and he's getting better."

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Garcia watched at ringside as Pacquiao defeated Brandon Rios who also trains under his brother Robert.

"Mikey is one of the few American superstars in boxing. We have Mikey coming up there. Andre Ward, Floyd Mayweather, Timothy Bradley," added Arum. "There's not many other Americans who qualify as superstars. So I envision Mikey is taking on a lot of these non-Americans in really big international fights, and where that takes him, I'm not sure."

On his way to Pacquiao, Garcia might need to hurdle another Filipino warrior. Gerry Penalosa claimed last month that Arum wants the up-and-coming fighter to defend his title against Filipino knockout artist Michael Farenas.


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