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Ryan Garcia Talked A Lot of Shat and Backed it Up – Beat the Crap Outta Devin Haney

Ahead of his high-stakes clash with Devin Haney amid a whirlwind of a promotion, Ryan Garcia‘s readiness for combat came under scrutiny, amplified by Garcia’s unpredictable outbursts.

Stepping into the ring on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the underdog, Garcia’s (25-1, 20 KOs) chances seemed slim. Yet, with a dazzling, potent left hook, Garcia altered the course of the fight, knocking Haney down three times to clinch the victory by way of a majority decision.

While one adjudicator tallied the fight as a 112-112 draw, the other two favored Garcia with 114-110 and 115-109 scores. Nevertheless, Garcia was precluded from seizing Haney’s WBC junior welterweight championship due to tipping the scales at 143.2 pounds the preceding day, breaching the 140-pound limit. Haney retained his title in defeat, yet the night belonged to Garcia, who notched a monumental triumph.

“I don’t give a damn about the chatter regarding me. I faced the blaze, held my ground, toppled freaking Devin Haney, and, believe it or not, I still indulge daily,” Garcia, 25, proclaimed. “I’m not exactly proud, but make no mistake, it was a declaration—a clear message that I’m beyond your reach.”

As the fight commenced, Garcia immediately sent a warning with a fierce left hook that staggered the defending champion. Haney (31-1, 15 KOs) gathered himself and proceeded to outmaneuver Garcia in successive rounds, even shaking Garcia in the third with a commanding right.

Garcia, however, landed the crucial left hook in the seventh round, sending Haney to the mat for the first time in his 32 professional bouts. A subsequent powerful right hand from Garcia was marred by a point deduction for hitting on the break, as Harvey Dock, the referee, enforced the rules.

“It was abysmal officiating,” Garcia remarked. “Haney clung to me desperately, and when my hands were unbound, I saw the chance to swing. I landed a solid hit, and then he deducts a point for my strike. Meanwhile, Haney wouldn’t stop clutching… What happened was outrageous. I’ve never witnessed anything like it.”

Garcia’s potential two-point gain was negated, but it was inconsequential. He toppled Haney once more in the tenth with a mighty right hand, duplicating the wobbling effect from the sixth round. In the eleventh, Garcia’s signature left hook once again found its mark, hurtling Haney backward onto the canvas. Despite the damage, Haney recovered and lasted until the final bell in what would be remembered as an unusually shocking and riveting fight.

Reflecting on the fight, a 25-year-old Haney acknowledged, “I’m let down by my own showing. Still, I demonstrated true champion grit, battling on after being downed.”

“He blindsided me early on; I underestimated him and his left hook caught me off-guard,” he conceded. “I had given him an opportunity, and it’s only fair he reciprocates.”

In a controversial move, Garcia, known for a shoulder roll that left him vulnerable, had promised to discard the technique after its ineffective use in a December knockout victory over Oscar Duarte. Yet once more, the defensive maneuver faltered, though Garcia still managed to counter Haney’s formidable jab.

Haney, still confident, had managed to clinch his undisputed lightweight title with a close-cut unanimous decision over renowned Vasiliy Lomachenko back in May. Moving up a division, Haney triumphed in a match against Regis Prograis, marking his junior welterweight debut with a clean sweep decision, even downing the champion for a new title.

On this fated Saturday, while Haney entered as ESPN’s top pick at 140 pounds, Garcia, having previously faltered at the elite level with a seventh-round defeat by Gervonta Davis, returned to astonish and demonstrate his ability to take down the elite, possibly fueled somewhat by the tumultuous promotion.

“This kind of chaos can be what some fighters need,” Oscar De La Hoya, the Hall of Famer and Garcia’s promoter, noted earlier. “There are those who thrive amidst the turmoil, as it shields you from reality.”

Prior to the match, Garcia was mandated by the New York State Athletic Commission to pass a mental health check, which he cleared. Despite being candid about his struggles with anxiety and depression, Garcia had expressed earlier that he felt the requirement was unjust and belittling.

“Once, I’ve stepped back from a fight,” Garcia admitted. “I know my limits and when there’s a real issue.”

Garcia and Haney’s rivalry dates back to their early years, crossing paths at age 11 in amateur boxing. Their first formal match in 201 took place in May 2012 in Southern California, with Garcia claiming victory by unanimous decision. Their most recent amateur bout in January 2015 saw Haney even the score with a win. Now adults, nine years later, Garcia settled the tie, proving the most significant fight between them—the one with lasting professional impact—was his for the taking.


The Reporter Newspaper
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