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Ryan Garcia stuns the boxing world, defeating Devin Haney after months of worrying antics



Ryan Garcia stuns the boxing world, defeating Devin Haney after months of worrying antics

Ryan Garcia spent the last three months with analysts and pundits far more concerned about his personal well-being than impressed with his boxing skills.

With a handful of explosive left hooks, he reminded the boxing world why he is “King Ryan,” defeating WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney by majority decision on Saturday night in what may have already closed the discussion of the best fight of 2024.

“Come on everyone, you really thought I was crazy?” Garcia screamed after the win.

Haney entered the evening as the heavy favorite, the king of multiple weight classes and an untouched record. He left the evening with a dented legacy.

Garcia’s willingness was immediately apparent in the opening minute of the first round, as he rocked Haney with a pair of explosive left hooks to wake up the crowd. He won the opening round with ease, landing nine powerful punches.

From that point on, Haney gained the upper hand with an adjustment to pick up the pace and keep the pressure on Garcia. Haney’s sharp jabs kept Garcia on his back foot and it looked like the champion was heading for an easy defense against the enigmatic powerhouse.

And then came the seventh round.

With a similar burst in the opening round to the first round, Garcia’s power became thunderous, this time he stunned the crowd by flooring Haney with a hook, handing Haney the first knockdown of his career. A stunned Haney beat the count but was caught again and again as Garcia unleashed the power that brought him to the fore.

But the round turned completely chaotic soon after, as Garcia was deducted a point for hitting during a break while Haney’s legs wobbled like jelly. After months of worrying about his mental well-being, a mid-fight mental relapse threatened to ruin his momentum.

Garcia bided his time in the eighth and ninth rounds before proving in the tenth that his outbursts were much more than adrenaline dumps. “King Ryan” knocked Haney down again, turning the fight completely in his favor and making an impossibility suddenly seem realistic.

As if that wasn’t enough, Garcia put the icing on the cake in the eleventh round with a third knockdown, drilling Haney with another left hook, sending the champion back to the mat and sending Barclays Center into pandemonium.

As Haney rose to beat the counter for a third time, the night was clearly over for the stunned champion, and Garcia closed out the decisive 12th round by leaping onto the corner ropes to soak up the post-fight praise of a stunned crowd. of his life.

“I would love to do a rematch, I gave him a chance and I’ll fire right back,” Haney said after the loss.

After weighing in at 3.2 pounds over the agreed upon limit of 140 pounds, Garcia was ineligible to win Haney’s super lightweight title, but that belt may be the only shred of dignity Haney left Brooklyn with.

Garcia entered the night simply with a puncher’s chance, which was a far cry from the days when his explosive style made him a household name a few years earlier.

The social media sensation seemed like the real deal when he defeated Luke Campbell to win the WBC interim lightweight title in 2021 and had the potential to become the future face of the sport in the post-Mayweather era, but then he saw the hype will be eliminated after losing his undefeated streak in a superfight with fellow phenom Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis in February 2023.

In that fight, Garcia was knocked down for the first time in the second round, before being knocked down again by Davis in the seventh round with a brutal body shot. Garcia failed to beat the 10-count, resulting in his first career loss, and was later criticized for quitting, as he stood up shortly after the bell rang.

He then took on Oscar Duarte in September and initially struggled against the inferior fighter, drawing boos from the Houston crowd before bouncing back with an eighth-round knockout. After fighting at 140 pounds in 2022, Garcia fell to Davis after agreeing to a catchweight of 136 pounds, then struggled to beat Duarte – a career 135 pounder – at 143 pounds.

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Those scales caused Garcia a lot more problems against Haney. On Friday night, Garcia weighed in at 143.2 points and opted to take a revised deal to continue the fight rather than attempt to lose the extra weight. Under the revised deal, Garcia lost $600,000 from his purse and was ineligible to win the super lightweight title.

In a show of blustery indifference, Garcia showed up to the ceremonial weigh-in later Friday, drinking a beer and yelling at Haney amid a heated confrontation.

On Thursday, Haney predicted Garcia would lose weight, and asked Garcia to pay him $500,000 per pound lost. A statement from Golden Boy Promotions said Friday that Garcia “will honor the handshake given at the final press conference yesterday.”

But Friday night’s debacle came as a bit of a surprise to anyone who has been following Garcia’s social media posts leading up to this fight, making Saturday night’s result even more baffling.

In recent months, Garcia has claimed he was kidnapped by the Illuminati, accused Logan Paul of worshiping Satan, made accusations about Haney’s father, said he was being spiritually attacked, said he has proof of the existence of aliens and, among other things, he called Elon Musk the Antichrist. a slew of other claims and accusations online and in podcast appearances.

Garcia also announced the birth of his second child and his divorce from his wife on the same day in January. In March, Garcia accused Haney of using a controlled substance and said he would bite Haney’s ears off. and later tweeted“My intention is to kill Devil Haney.”

All of these antics encapsulated both his and Haney’s boxing rise leading up to Saturday night.

The loss leaves Haney at 32-1 and crushes his case to be considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world along with Terence Crawford and Canelo Alvarez.

In 2022, Haney defeated George Kambosos Jr. in a lightweight title unification match, becoming the first undisputed lightweight champion since Pernell Whitaker in 1990, and the first in the four-belt era. In December, Haney moved up to super lightweight to fight champion Regis Prograis, who Haney dominated with a masterclass performance to become a two-division champion.

Before Saturday night’s stunner, it was thought that a rematch between Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko, who defeated Haney in a thrilling fight last May to defend his lightweight title, would be in the champion’s future as Haney’s unanimous decision victory was disputed by many.

But now, a rematch with Garcia should be Haney’s next order of business as he tries to get his career back on track. Saturday night’s defeat exposed many holes in Haney’s game and left the champion with serious questions about the strength of his chin and the legitimacy of his previously untarnished record.

In the hours after his victory, Garcia was back on social media, arguing that the referee should have stopped the fight in the seventh round and ridiculing Haney for losing to him.

“I know people are so angry,” Garcia posted on X with a few crying emojis. “Imagine a guy beating a p4p fighter non-stop and just being chilling, that’s hilarious Muhhahahahahaha.”

In the co-main event, underdog Sean McComb was seemingly robbed by the judges as he fell via split decision to Arnold Barboza Jr., who remains undefeated. According to the broadcast stats, McComb seemed to dictate the pace of the fight with his slick defense and unreachable length, while also beating Barboza.

Barboza built enough momentum in the final frames to earn the victory, but wore the story of the fight on his bruised face. The first announced rating scorecard read 98-92 for McComb, but the next scorecard shockingly read 97-93 Barboza. The final scorecard gave Barboza the lead and the fight with a score of 96-94, but there was no spark of celebration from the favorite.

In the post-fight interview, Barboza said he was not surprised by the results, but the crowd expressed their dissent with a chorus of boos.

Barboza entered the night as a replacement fighter in the main event if Garcia did not show up and with an eye on a future headline fight with Shakur Stevenson. Barboza may have left with his perfect record intact, but also with a bruised cheek and a tarnished reputation.

Required reading

(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)