Devin Haney obviously wants Ryan Garcia to fight him, not Manny Pacquiao.
That isn’t the only reason that Haney thinks Pacquiao-Garcia is a bad idea. Apart from potentially taking away one of his most prominent opponents, Haney doesn’t think Garcia can beat even this 42-year-old version of Pacquiao.
Haney pointed out that Garcia showed vulnerability when Luke Campbell dropped him in the second round of their fight January 2 in Dallas. A gritty Garcia displayed toughness by recovering from that knockdown and knocking out Campbell with a body shot in the seventh round, but he’d have to move up two weight classes to oppose Pacquiao.
“At the end of the day, that fight, it doesn’t really make sense because it’s not a very winnable fight for Ryan,” Haney said during an interview on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which is streamed Monday through Friday on DAZN and SiriusXM. “Ryan is a 135-pounder, who just in his last fight went in there and he got hurt against Luke Campbell, you know, not a huge puncher, not a guy known for knocking guys out or really hurting guys like that.
“So, you talk about going up two weight classes to go face Manny Pacquiao, thinking that, you know, you win the fight and then you’re gonna come back down to 135 and fight me and Tank, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t seem like realistic.”
When Las Vegas’ Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) was asked if he wouldn’t pounce on an opportunity to fight Pacquiao if it were presented to him, the WBC world lightweight champion contended it’s time for him, Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Teofimo Lopez to fight each other, not an aged legend.
“I feel like that right now Manny had his career, he had his time, he did what he did,” Haney said. “I think it’s now time to focus on the young guns and the guys now. Because, like I said, that is not a winnable fight. That’s not a very winnable fight for Ryan. It’s not an easy fight. Not saying that he can’t win, but not saying that, you know, that he can win. So, just say he goes on and he loses to Manny Pacquiao, then what? Pacquiao had his era. Pacquiao had his era, and that era came and it went. Now it’s our turn. Let’s focus on these fights – the Tank, the me, the Teofimo Lopez. This is our era to take over the sport of boxing.”
The 22-year-old Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), of Victorville, California, became a mandatory challenger for Haney’s title and won the WBC interim lightweight championship by beating Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) last month at American Airlines Center. Though Haney-Garcia would be relatively easy to put together because their promoters are affiliated with DAZN, they’re not expected to fight next.
The Philippines’ Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) hasn’t fought since he defeated Keith Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) by split decision in their 12-round WBA welterweight title fight in July 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.