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Fight Recap: Ryan Garcia Outfoxes Devin Haney In Stunning Win

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Fight Recap: Ryan Garcia Outfoxes Devin Haney In Stunning Win
Photo Credit: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

After weeks of outrageous pre-fight behavior and unhinged antics culminating in missing weight on Friday, Ryan Garcia turns out to be crazy like a fox.

Garcia of Los Angeles (25-1, 20 KOs) did what no one in boxing has done. He dropped WBC World Junior Lightweight champion Devin Haney of Las Vegas (31-1, 15 KOs) to the canvas three times, handing him the first professional loss of his career in a stunning upset boxing experts and fans will discuss for years.

Oscar De La Hoya, Derrick James, and Bernard Hopkins celebrate Ryan Garcia's victory. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Oscar De La Hoya, Derrick James, and Bernard Hopkins celebrate Ryan Garcia's victory. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

The scorecards read 115-109, 114-110, and 113-113 for the Garcia majority decision victory.

“I had everybody thinking I was crazy back in the day. Who's the crazy one?” said Garcia after his victory, which sent shockwaves through boxing and beyond.

No Excuses from Haney

Devin Haney admitted he was caught sleeping on Ryan Garcia's left hook, even thought he trained to avoid it. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Devin Haney admitted he was caught sleeping on Ryan Garcia's left hook, even though he trained to avoid it. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Haney didn’t make any excuses for his performance. “I’m disappointed with my performance. I showed that I was a true champion, that I could fight after I got knocked down and got hurt. He caught me early when I was sleeping on it, he caught me by surprise.

“I was more surprised than hurt. He jumped on me like we knew he would, but I was sleeping on him. But Allah is the perfect planner, he makes no mistakes,” said Haney.

Because Garcia missed weight, only Haney could defend his title. Haney and WBC president Mauricio Sulieman asserted Haney still retains the belt. Ryan Garcia still hasn't won a world title.

Quick Start By Garcia

Ryan Garcia dropped Devin Haney early in the first round, and did it again in round seven. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Ryan Garcia dropped Devin Haney early in the first round and did it again in round seven. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Most predicted Garcia’s best chance for an improbable victory would be a quick start, unloading his powerful left hook in an attempt to catch Haney. Fans at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn roared when Garcia did just that, rocking Haney backward with a hard left hook seconds into the round. It was the first knockdown of Haney’s career, and his stunned expression said it all. Haney held and evaded Garcia as he unloaded trying to capitalize. But Haney made it to the corner.

It set the tone for the remainder of the fight. Haney managed to settle down, and Garcia eased back, conserving his efforts lest he gas himself out. Haney gathered his wits, drove a stabbing jab toward Garcia’s body, and landed several solid right hands.

Haney won the next three rounds, but his confidence had been cracked along with his jaw by Garcia. He knew now Garcia could detonate another bomb. Garcia didn’t bother to hide his desire to do precisely that. As he promised leading up to the fight, Garcia also threw the right hook, having some success with it.

Into the fourth and fifth rounds, both men looked for openings to do damage. Garcia forced Haney into a far more aggressive offense than he likely had planned. When power shots landed, both began tying up. Referee Harvey Dock had to work at keeping the fight moving. Haney began finding his rhythm and gained a bit of his broken confidence back.

Garcia's Classic Left Hook Comes Out To Play

Ryan Garcia knew what he was doing when he decided to come into the fight above the 140-pound weight limit. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

But it didn’t last. In the seventh round, Garcia dropped Haney to the canvas for the first time in his career with a hard left hook, the classic Garcia special. With most of the round left, Garcia tried to finish the fight. Haney held on for his life. A frustrated Garcia punched on a break by referee Dock, and he took a point from the astonished Garcia.

Haney benefitted from those few seconds of recovery time but lost his footing twice with Garcia on top of him because of his shaky legs. Dock ruled both slips. Haney survived to the bell but was now in bad shape and in survival mode. Still, the fight wasn’t over.

Garcia hurt Haney again in the eighth, but he had tremendous will and a decent chin. The disparity was beginning to show through eight rounds in the CompuBox numbers. Through eight rounds, Garcia landed 56 power punches against 23 for Haney.

Ryan Garcia dropped Devin Haney three times and outlanded Haney nearly 2-1 in power shots. Garcia landed 41% of his power punches after Haney's previous 10 opponents landed 25%. Graphic: CompuBox

The surprises kept coming. Garcia landed another left hook 30 seconds into the tenth round. Haney beat the count, only to run into a body shot. With Haney stumbling and holding, Garcia tried to end the fight. He rocked Haney again, who staggered but somehow stayed on his feet. Could he put a stamp on his performance by getting the stoppage?

Haney: Fighting With Serious Injury?

Referee Harvey Dock moves Ryan Garcia away after the third knockdown of Devin Haney in round 11. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Referee Harvey Dock moves Ryan Garcia away after the third knockdown of Devin Haney in round 11. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

In the 11th round, after catching Haney with left hooks, Garcia shouted at Bill Haney in the corner to stop the fight – and then dropped his son for one final time in the fight. Haney was on the canvas, and Brooklyn was on its feet.

Haney needed something in the final round to have a chance to win, but he would have needed a knockout. The best he could manage was finishing the fight on his feet.

Credit to Haney. There was no way for him and his father to know it was still close on the cards. He soldiered on showing determination and grit to the end.

Garcia showed up the critics who believed he hadn’t trained diligently and would gas out in the later rounds. It wasn’t the case. Garcia had plenty of steam left for a firefight in the championship rounds.

Ryan Garcia checks to see if Devin Haney can survive the third knockdown of the fight. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Ryan Garcia checks to see if Devin Haney can survive the third knockdown of the fight. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

After asking what ran through his mind as the fight progressed, Garcia said he thought, “Is this the moment I stop him? I shouldn't have put too much pressure on myself to stop them. Because every time I hurt him, I just went crazy. I just couldn't finish it.”

Garcia added he thought referee Harvey Dock should have stopped the fight. “He (Haney) was really hurt. I felt bad. I even looked at Bill Haney in the eleventh round and said, “Boy, you probably should stop this.’ But he didn’t.”

Garcia gave his opponent credit for his toughness. “I was surprised he had such good heart and recovery. I cracked him in that first round. I thought ‘easy work!’ And then he came out firing in the second round, he even hurt me with a hook.”

Haney spoke briefly after the fight, and based on his slurred speech and swollen face, it appeared his jaw might have been broken. Haney and his father did not attend the post-fight press conference. Haney provided an update via X/Twitter, stating his jaw had not been broken and he was in good health.

Garcia: ‘Don't Look At Me Like An Example'

Ryan Garcia, advisor Lupe Valencia, and father Henry Garcia had choice words for their critics. Photo: Golden Boy/YouTube

If anyone expected Garcia to show any grace or contrition for his behavior, you can forget about it.

“I walk through the fire and still held it down, and still beat fucking Devin Haney, and still drink every day and still beat him,” declared Garcia. “Drank every single night, went out on the first Monday and Tuesday and drank. What happened? I won!” said Garcia.

Garcia claimed, on the one hand, he was having fun, but in the next breath, he said he did what he felt he needed to do to feel okay, including drinking and partying. “And I'm not proud of it at all. Don’t look at me like an example. Look at Jesus Christ because I’m far from perfect.”

As the boxing world adjusts to this new reality, Garcia and his promoters will look toward a much brighter future than expected.

Garcia said he knew he could beat Haney. “I was supremely confident. Am I happy? Of course.

“But at the end of the day, I'm all about trying to fulfill the will of God and keep it moving. So what's next? Who's next?”

Who Should Ryan Garcia Fight Next?

At the post fight press conference, promoter Oscar De La Hoya said Ryan Garcia is now calling the shots. Photo: Golden Boy/YouTube

At the post-fight press conference, promoter Oscar De La Hoya said Ryan Garcia was now calling the shots. Photo: Golden Boy/YouTube

Haney expressed interest in a rematch. “I thought it was a close fight still. I would love to rematch. I gave him a shot, it’s only right he gives me a shot.”

Later, Garcia said any rematch would take place at 147 pounds because he could no longer meet the 140-pound limit. He pointed out he hadn’t ever fought at 140 pounds, but at 143 pounds, both against Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Moving up makes a rematch against Davis unlikely.

Golden Boy Boxing’s Oscar De La Hoya said, “Ryan had a great win. He'll have a rest. He's calling all the shots now. If anybody wants to make money, they have to fight Ryan, and guess what? He's going to call all the shots,” said De La Hoya.

Garcia said after the fight he’d give Haney a rematch, and Haney said he’d be interested. But such a fight will be months away.

Gayle Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist and the only woman journalist who is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). She is West Coast Bureau Chief based in San Diego, California.