Devin Haney took the high road when he was asked about Ryan Garcia before Haney fought Jorge Linares.

Once Garcia publicly criticized Haney’s performance versus Linares, however, Haney fired back at his lightweight rival. Haney called Garcia “a coward” Tuesday on Twitter for avoiding their lightweight title fight earlier this year.

The unbeaten WBC world lightweight champion also pointed out that Garcia never really wanted to fight Linares (47-6, 29 KOs), the former three-division champion Haney defeated by unanimous decision Saturday night at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Garcia provoked Haney by stating on social media that he “would’ve slept” Haney (26-0, 15 KOs), who was buzzed by Linares’ combination just before the bell sounded to end the 10th round of their 12-round, 135-pound title fight.

“Ryan Garcia is the true definition of a coward,” Haney wrote in the first of three Twitter posts. “A few weeks ago he wanted sympathy because he was having “Mental Health issues” this week he talking sh*t about me… it’s funny now he came out after Javier Fortuna found another opponent.”

The 22-year-old Haney suggested that Garcia didn’t truly want to fight Fortuna, either. Their fight for Garcia’s WBC interim lightweight championship was scheduled for July 9, but Garcia withdrew from the Fortuna fight to manage his “health and wellbeing,” according to Garcia’s Instagram post April 24.

Haney expected Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) to fight him after the young knockout artist stopped England’s Luke Campbell with a body shot during the seventh round January 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. That victory versus Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) came in an elimination match for Haney’s championship, but Garcia and his handlers said they weren’t interested in facing Haney next.

They instead scheduled a mandated bout against the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC). Once Garcia pulled out of the Fortuna fight, Golden Boy replaced him with former IBF junior lightweight champion Joseph Diaz Jr. (31-1-1, 15 KOs).

Haney added Tuesday, “& if Luke Campbell dropped you what would have Linares done to you?”

Garcia and Linares were supposed to fight last July, but it was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“& let’s be real you never wanted to fight Linares,” Haney Tweeted. “You ducked him like you ducked me.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.