Home Boxing News Devin Haney determined to be an all-time great, but first Ryan Garcia

Devin Haney determined to be an all-time great, but first Ryan Garcia

Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia. Photo credit: Golden Boy Promotions/Cris Esqueda

WBC junior welterweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 31-0 (15) says ignoring the ongoing circus surrounding ‘King’ Ryan Garcia 24-1 (20) is key to victory over the polarising figure when they meet at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.

There have been concerns for the mental health of the 25-year-old Garcia of Los Angeles in the lead up to the bout after moths of bizarre social media posts and erratic behaviour at media events.

Things hit an apex at the official weigh-in, with the challenger coming in 3.2 pounds heavy. The fight will still proceed after Garcia agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to Haney, but he will be ineligible to claim the title even if he wins against Haney, who scaled bang on the 140-pound weight limit.

Garcia has a massive social media following and former undisputed lightweight champion Haney knows that victory over him will make his name even more well known.

“Oh, it’s a dream come true,” said Haney, 25, of San Francisco. “Inshallah. I thank Allah for it. I dreamed of being on these stages and now I’m here. What better way than New York City, the megaphone of the world. Where all eyeballs – everybody – can watch here, and see this greatness that I have.

“I love fight week. That’s the fun part. It’s almost time for me to shine and show the world everything that I’m capable of. But it’s also part of – like I said, I dreamed of these moments, and trained for these moments, so I’m thankful to finally be here.

“I’ve seen a lot of fighters coming up as a young kid, in fight week and doing interviews, and I wanted to be here one day. And now my time has come and I want to embrace it all. I love the process, the build-up.

“I don’t really believe in pressure. I put my faith and my trust in Allah and I let him take control.”

How long Haney remains at junior welterweight remains to be seen. In his divisional debut, a shutout victory over Regis Prograis last December, he looked like the much bigger man in the ring. A move up to welterweight could happen sooner rather than later.

“I wanna be an all-time great in the sport,” Haney said. “I see myself going up in weight classes, proving myself, doing what the greats did. [Earning parity with] the greats – beating these guys, one by one.

“It all starts with beating Ryan Garcia. That’s my main focus. April 20, it will be fireworks – the world will see.

“I think he’ll come out reckless, and I think he’ll run into something. I’ll use his aggression against him – I will hurt him. It will hurt him.

“One hundred per cent [it’s going to be painful for him]. But I’m not coming in there to run around the ring. I’m not gonna be hard to find.”

Haney’s promoter of record Eddie Hearn said he expected an explosive performance from the champion following the weigh-in debacle.

“The wildness continues,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said. “Get ready for a wild night tomorrow night. Expect the unexpected tomorrow night. Expect drama, and expect a masterclass from Devin Haney.”