Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn wants to deliver the first career-defining fight for a pair of the sport’s most promising 22-year-olds.
Hearn, who promotes Devin Haney (25-0, 15 KOs), wants to pit the WBC lightweight champion against rising star Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), even though Haney’s mandatory challenger has desires for Gervonta Davis instead.
“When you look at Ryan Garcia vs. Gervonta Davis, one is with DAZN, and one is with Fox or Showtime,” Hearn told Boxing Social. “Gervonta isn’t going to fight on DAZN. Ryan Garcia contractually through Golden Boy can’t box on FOX. So is that just to get people talking or is there something going on?
“From DAZN’s point of view, does DAZN want to make Devin Haney against Ryan Garcia in April? That’s the fight. But Devin, I spoke to him the other day and I said, ‘April, Ryan Garcia, that’s what we’re hoping for.’ ‘No, no chance, no chance.’ I mean, obviously, they’ve got history from the amateurs. Maybe Devin knows better than me, and maybe Ryan Garcia doesn’t want to fight Devin Haney? But it’s a wonderful fight.
“So we’ve got to try and make that, and I hope that Ryan and Golden Boy will say, ‘Okay, the Gervonta Davis fight can’t work at the moment, so we’ll fight Devin.’ No one can moan if they make Ryan Garcia vs. Gervonta Davis, but if they don’t, they really should be fighting Devin Haney. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Garcia became Haney’s mandatory challenger following his knockout win over Luke Campbell to kick off the year but called out Davis instead with Haney sitting ringside.
Hearn hopes Garcia will ultimately have a change of heart and shift his energy toward making a more feasible fight with Haney.
“Hopefully, [it’s] Devin Haney, which [Garcia] doesn’t seem to want to talk about. It is going to be mandated by the WBC,” said Hearn. “You can’t criticize Ryan Garcia for swerving Devin Haney. He’s calling out Tank Davis. Oscar De La Hoya, Robert Diaz, Eric Gomez, they know boxing, and they know that was a big risk fighting Luke Campbell. In the second round, [when Garcia was knocked down] they were probably thinking, ‘Oh my life, what’s going on here?’ But they also know that Ryan Garcia isn’t ready for Tank.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com