Devin Haney is the youngest world titlist in boxing at the age of 20. Ryan Garcia, 21, is not too far behind in age, and although he lacks world champion status, it’s the crown-holder who’s calling out the contender.
The two fighters have history, splitting six fights evenly in the amateurs at three apiece. Haney (24-0, 15 KOs), the WBC lightweight beltholder, wants to prove who’s the better fighter once and for all.
“I’ll fight anybody they want me to fight. I’ve been saying I’ve been wanting to fight the top guys and I’m calling them out. I can’t help that they won’t fight me,” Haney told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “I don’t take anyone lightly. No fight is easy. I think Ryan Garcia is a really good fighter. He’s been doing good for himself. I think it will be a good fight.”
Eddie Hearn, head of Matchroom Boxing, Haney’s promoter, is currently maneuvering around Haney’s mandatory challenger in Javier Fortuna. After that fight is done, he wants to pit the pair of touted prospects together and settle the score.
“Most of all I want Devin to fight Ryan Garcia. That is a mega fight for 2020. You can say, we can marinate that one and make it bigger. Why? Let’s do it now. It’s two guys with big profiles and they’re two of the most exciting fighters in this sport. I love that fight, because Devin is not going to be around at 135 this time next year.
“It's a very risky fight for both guys. You have to really fancy your charge to make that fight. Ryan Garcia is a great fighter, extremely popular and has a great profile but we believe Devin wins that fight. It can be built really big over the next six-to-nine months.”
Hearn said if a Garcia (19-0 16 KOs) fight cannot be made with Golden Boy Promotions, he will switch his position and look at his own stable with contender Luke Campbell, who’s returning to the ring Dec. 20 following a competitive loss to Vasyl Lomachenko.
“At the end of the day, I still haven’t accomplished anything nowhere near what I want to,” said Haney. “Being a world champion now is one step closer to where I want to be. I want to be mentioned with the greats when I retire.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].