When the welterweight fight between former two-division world titlist Danny Garcia and Ivan Redkach was made, anyone who says they did not expect Garcia to win by knockout in New York — aside, perhaps, from Redkach and his team — is probably being less than honest.

So although Garcia dominated on Saturday night in a (surprising) unanimous decision win (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it was a disappointment.

Garcia didn’t look all that good, despite bloodying and generally shellacking Redkach. But the way it played out was probably good for him in the long run.

“I felt like I won the fight. I won the fight easy. I wanted the knockout, I didn’t get it, and it is what it is,” Garcia said in the wee hours of Sunday morning at his postfight news conference. “It’s on to better and bigger things. Maybe this is the type of performance I needed for Manny Pacquiao or somebody else to fight me.”

The whole idea of the fight with Redkach in the first place was for Garcia to face a southpaw and set himself up to challenge for a welterweight world title in a much bigger fight with another southpaw, either the legendary Pacquiao or unified world titlist Errol Spence Jr.

Because Garcia looked average — and perhaps beatable by an elite opponent — he figured it was exactly the kind of performance that should help him lock down one of those big fights

“They’re probably going to look at it like, ‘Yo, Danny shoulda stopped him, Danny shoulda knocked him out,'” Garcia said. “But I won mostly every round. [Redkach is] a tough guy. He’s coming off three [wins in a row]. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime [for him], and he took it serious.”

Garcia was coming off a nine-month layoff, but he isn’t likely to wait nearly that long for his next assignment. A fight with Spence or Pacquiao, if it happens next for him, would likely be in the late spring or summer.

Before Spence flipped his Ferrari in a high-speed, one-car crash in October in his hometown of Dallas, the plan was for Spence to defend his belts against Garcia on Saturday night. After Spence edged Shawn Porter by split decision to unify two titles in September, Garcia and Spence were in the ring together talking up the showdown. But a few weeks later, Spence was in the car accident, and the fight was never officially announced.

Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) has said that when he returns he has no plans for a tuneup fight. He wants a legit opponent, and Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs), who has won titles at welterweight and junior welterweight and whose only losses came by close decisions to Porter and Keith Thurman, fits the bill.

Then there is eight-division world champion Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), who turned 41 last month but looked awfully fresh in a decision win over Thurman to take his title last July. Pacquiao is handling his duties as a senator in the Philippines at the moment but plans to be back soon, with Garcia a strong candidate for the assignment.

“The Senator still looking at April, June or July for a return to the ring. Danny Garcia is on the short list,” Pacquiao right-hand man Sean Gibbons, the CEO of MP Promotions, texted to ESPN on Monday morning.

If Garcia is likely going to get one of those fights, he and his team felt it was imperative for him to prepare by facing a left-hander, which he has only done a few times as a pro.

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