Garcia Defeats Haney in Spectacular Bout at Barclays

Garcia knocked down Haney in the 7th, 10th, and 11th rounds.

On Apr. 20, 2024 at the Barclay Center arena in Brooklyn, NY, Ryan “KingRy” Garcia (25-1, 20KOs) defeated his former amateur rival and current WBC junior welterweight (140lbs) champion Devin “The Dream” Haney (31-1,15KOs)  by majority decision after 12 spectacular rounds.

During the build up to the fight, Garcia, who has admittedly admitted to battling mental health issues, had portrayed himself as mentally unstable. He stated the he had smoked marijuana before attending the press conference to promote the fight, that he was drinking alcohol, talked about aliens, about being restricted from his own money, about posting disturbing messages on social media, etc.

This behavior seemed believable as current and former boxers, trainers, celebrities, among others called for the fight to be cancelled so Garcia could seek the mental health treatment which they all believed he needed.

Some financial sponsors reportedly cancelled their commitment to the event. Promoter Eddie Hearn had said he believed Garcia would look for a way to quit in the ring during the match by behaving like a lunatic. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya assured all concerned that Garcia was training and fit to fight.

The World Boxing Council (WBC) who sanctioned the fight for its junior-welterweight champion, Devin Haney, took no chance and had Garcia evaluated with a brain-scan to see if he was fit to fight. After the exam, Garcia was cleared to fight.

On the day of the ceremonial weigh-in of both fighters, Garcia was over the contracted limit (140lbs) weighing in at 143.2lbs. Garcia was assessed a $1.5 million penalty that was paid to Haney so the fight could proceed.

Garcia came out aggressively, setting the pace and even stunning Haney with a left hook early in the first round.

Twenty four hours later at the start of the first bell, the Ryan Garcia that acted disturbed during prefight promotion was not the same Ryan Garcia who entered the ring. Garcia came out aggressively, setting the pace and even stunning Haney with a left hook early in the first round, shocking all in attendance.

Haney did his best to stay in the fight, making it competitive in the ensuing rounds, but the night belonged to Garcia who went on to knocked down Haney in the 7th, 10th, and 11th rounds. There was a fourth knockdown during the fight, but the referee ruled it a slip, and Garcia was not credited with a fourth official knockdown.

Garcia was deducted one point for hitting Haney as the referee separated both fighters from a clinch. At the end of 12 rounds, even though Haney boxed well in some rounds, he looked battered and bruised. The official decision on one of the judges score-card was surprisingly even at 112-112 (Draw), another judge scored it 114-110 for Ryan, and the third judge scored it 115-109 for Ryan, giving him a majority decision victory.

At the post-fight press conference, Garcia stated that he was not crazy, as many had thought. Because Garcia had failed to make the 140 lb. limit he was not eligible to fight for and win the WBC junior welterweight title that belonged to Haney. Garcia said he is unable to fight at 140 lbs and plans to compete at welterweight (147 lbs). Promoter Oscar De La Hoya says his fighter can fight at a catch-weight of 143 lbs for a rematch with WBA lightweight champion Gervonta “Tank ” Davis, who defeated Garcia in a high-stakes match-up back in April 2023 in Las Vegas.

After this win over previously undefeated two division champion Haney, Garcia once again joins fighters such as Canelo Alvarez as one of the prominent faces of boxing. It will be interesting to see who Garcia fights next as his promoter De La Hoya said they are not interested in a rematch with Haney.

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