Amid the madness at the Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood, California, where the second part of the Devin Haney-Ryan Garcia press tour unfolded on Thursday, one cool head remained.

Not much gets to Texas-based trainer Derrick James, and he tried his best to shield Garcia, James’ fighter, from everyone else – and seemingly himself – throughout a series of wild exchanges.

Garcia, who previously worked with Eddy Reynoso and Joe Goossen, is settling in with James, who has now had two camps with the fighter. But the man Garcia is already very familiar with is the fighter who will be in the opposite corner on April 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: Haney.

While the pair of 25-year-olds are now stars in the sport, they were once teenage rivals on the amateur circuit, boxing six times and splitting their matchups, 3-3.

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) now lives in Los Angeles, while Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) resides in Las Vegas. 

Haney, the WBC super lightweight champion and recognized as one of the best fighters in the world, is also the betting favorite ahead of the Garcia bout.

The press tour has captured the imagination of fans, although many have been left questioning Garcia’s well-being, while others claim Garcia’s behavior and social media posts are part of a lucrative, sophisticated ruse.

Regardless of the bizarre build-up, James was focused only on the fight.

“I know it’s getting closer and closer to the fight, everyone is anticipating a great matchup, and I’m looking forward to seeing Ryan show everything that he has and everything that he’s willing to be,” James said. “Devin’s a great competitor, a great fighter. It takes great fighters to bring the best out of great fighters. I expect a great fight and a great victory.”

Garcia took part in 2023’s leading money-spinner when he was stopped by a body shot in seven rounds by a Gervonta “Tank” Davis last April. Although Garcia wants to avenge that loss, he knows he has to cope with Haney first.

“This is a huge moment,” Garcia said. “I don’t know if it’s the most important time in my life. I’ve been through a lot of important times in my life, so I would have to go in my memory bank. But it’s up there, for sure.”