Home Boxing News Eddie Hearn says Ryan Garcia is a real fighter, but Devin Haney...

Eddie Hearn says Ryan Garcia is a real fighter, but Devin Haney is a pound-for-pound great

Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. Photo credit: talkSPORT

Promoter Eddie Hearn has praised Ryan Garcia 24-1 (20) for his willingness to jump in the ring with WBC junior welterweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 31-0 (15).

The pair will clash at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on April 20.

Fresh off his eighth-round knockout victory over Oscar Duarte 26-2-1 (21) in December, the 26-year-old Garcia wasted little time on calling out former undisputed lightweight champion Haney, 25, before pivoting towards a fight against WBA 140-pound titleholder Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero 15-1 (13).

When those talks stalled, Garcia switched his focus back to Haney. Hearn explained how the negotiations went down.

“To be honest it was more Bill Haney in that position. We’re working — I don’t know what we are, a partner in the event — it’s in association with Matchroom but Bill was the one really that went out there and got the deal done with Oscar,” Matchroom Boxing boss Hearn explained to FightHype.

“He kept us in the loop throughout, we gave advice where necessary, but Oscar’s the lead promoter for the fight. Did the fight with Bill with us, but really Bill did a great job in that fight.

“I spoke to Ryan Garcia numerous times in the negotiations for the fight. I have to take my hat off to him, to be honest with you. I know Ryan Garcia gets a lot of criticism but he is stepping up for all these fights.

“He messaged me first to say ‘I want to fight Devin’. I didn’t believe him and then he looked to fight Rolly. That didn’t happen and he came back and said ‘alright, let’s get this fight made’.

“And I didn’t think he’d do it, but he did do it. So massive respect to Ryan Garcia. He’s a real fighter. But Devin Haney in my opinion is a pound-for-pound great. I think he’s the future face of boxing if not on the way to being there already and it’s the perfect fight for Devin Haney.

“The career of Devin Haney has gone very well. He built himself with Matchroom and DAZN, took that short-term deal with ESPN to become undisputed, came back, beat [Vasiliy] Lomachenko, came back with up to move up and become a two-division world champion and now lands one of the biggest fights in the sport.

“So Devin’s flying at the moment, but Ryan’s a real fighter. I think it’s a tremendous fight.

“I mean, Devin wins the fight but Ryan’s dangerous. Actually, as a style matchup, Ryan’s actually got a pretty good style to take on Devin. He’s reactive, he can punch, technically sound. But Devin is so good in so many areas and I think up at 140 now he’s a different fighter.”

The announcement this week that the fight would land in New York rather than Las Vegas surprised many, but Hearn explained the rationale.

“I think that’s a brilliant move taking it to Brooklyn, to the Barclays Center,” he said. “We saw so many PBC fights there, some of which worked, some of which didn’t. But it’s a fantastic arena and New York is a huge catchment area for boxing.

“And when you’ve got Canelo Alvarez potentially fighting May 4, two weeks later, why not go to another massive market for that fight…I expect (Haney vs Garcia) to sell out very quickly.”