MANNY Pacquiao’s upcoming fight has been narrowed down to two choices. And neither of them is named Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It’s either former world champion Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman for the Filipino ring star in a 12-round title fight being primed up in the U.S. by the middle of July.
International matchmaker Sean Gibbons made the disclosure on Tuesday as he and the 40-year-old reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight champion whittled down the list of Pacquiao’s next opponent.
“It’s either Garcia or Thurman,” said Gibbons.
With the option down to just two men, it’s clear Pacquiao won’t be facing old rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch of their 2015 showdown which went down as the biggest and richest in the history of prizefighting.
The announcement made by the Pacquiao camp came while Mayweather is in the country for a brief vacation.
Both Garcia and Thurman, however, belong to the same Premier Boxing Champions stable of Al Haymon, a known associate of Mayweather.
Garcia, 31 and an ex-welterweight title holder, must do well in his fight against Adrian Granados on April 20 in Carson, California to stay in the mix in the Pacquiao sweepstakes.
“But we’ll see what happens in the Garcia fight on April 20,” added Gibbons.
Garcia has a record of 36-2, with 20 KOs.
A Garcia loss would make Thurman the logical choice to face Pacquiao, who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision win over Adrian Broner last January 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to retain his 147-lb belt.
A week after Pacquiao’s victory, Thurman retained his WBA super-welterweight crown by scoring a majority decision over Josesito Lopez in a bout that saw the unbeaten American get staggered in the seventh round.
Incidentally, Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) beat Garcia via split decision in a welterweight unification bout in October 25, 2016.