Ryan Garcia is pursuing a fight with Teofimo Lopez, Isaac Cruz or Roland Romero when he returns to the ring this autumn — even though Manny Pacquiao has been targeted by his promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
The 24-year-old Garcia lost for the first time as a professional in April, when he was stopped by Gervonta “Tank” Davis in seven rounds.
He has since split with his trainer Joe Goossen and replaced him with Derrick James, and will return to super lightweight, having lost to Davis at a catchweight of 136lbs.
De La Hoya’s decorated career was ended by Pacquiao in 2008, when he was stopped on a night that transformed the Filipino’s profile, but despite Pacquiao having retired off the back of losing to Yordenis Ugas in 2021, De La Hoya — who has also struggled with retirement — believes his one-time opponent is ready to return.
“Ryan sent out his hit list, which is three fighters,” De La Hoya told ProBox TV. “Teofimo Lopez, Isaac ‘The Pitbull’ Cruz, and Rolando ’Rolly’ Romero. I believe that those three opponents would be big for Ryan Garcia.
“They would be huge fights. Each one of those.”
Lopez challenges WBO super lightweight champion Josh Taylor on June 10 in New York. Romero’s reputation was damaged last month as a consequence of his controversial stoppage of Ismael Barroso, when numerous observers believed he was not only fortunate that the referee Tony Weeks intervened to rescue Barroso but that he was on course for defeat.
Mexico’s Cruz could prove a popular opponent, given Garcia is often marketed as a fighter of Mexican descent. Romero and Cruz have, like Garcia, regardless been beaten by Davis.
“I have another name for you,” De La Hoya continued. “A Manny Pacquiao would be very interesting, which would be bigger than any one of those combined. I think that when I sit down with Ryan Garcia and his team we will figure out the game plan and take it from there, but we're looking at September, October for his comeback
The 44-year-old Pacquiao’s presence in Las Vegas at Davis-Garcia contributed to suggestions that he is looking to return to the ring. De La Hoya, incidentally, retired at 36.
When told De La Hoya had spoken of him fighting Pacquiao, Garcia – who remained a child the night of De La Hoya-Pacquiao – posted on social media: “This isn’t happening. I said what I wanted.
“It’s frustrating. Tired of this.”