Eddie Hearn still can’t comprehend why Ryan Garcia refused to fight Devin Haney after winning a dangerous elimination match against Luke Campbell and earning a title shot.
Hearn hopes, however, that Garcia will be much more receptive to challenging Haney if the undefeated, 22-year-old rivals win their upcoming fights against former champions.
Haney is scheduled to defend his WBC world lightweight championship versus Venezuela’s Jorge Linares on May 29 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Haney’s hometown. Garcia has agreed to face Dominican veteran Javier Fortuna on an undetermined date in July.
“I really feel like we’ve got to put the pressure on this situation if both guys win, to say, ‘C’mon, guys,’ ” Hearn said during his most recent appearance on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which streams weekdays on DAZN and SiriusXM. “Devin is still a bit baffled why Ryan won’t fight him. But we move on. And I’m glad that we managed to pull a big fight out for Devin, because he does need it.”
Hearn, whose company promotes Haney (25-0, 15 KOs), considers Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) a more dangerous opponent than Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs, 2 NC). Nevertheless, Hearn expects Fortuna to pose problems for Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs), who stopped England’s Campbell (20-4, 16 KOs) with a body shot in the seventh round January 2 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
“It’s a tough fight,” Hearn said. “Like he’s gonna get, I don’t know, a quarter of the money to fight Fortuna than he would [receive] to fight Haney. It’s just frustrating because, listen, Ryan Garcia is a great fighter. But he keeps talking about all these other challenges, when there’s one right in front of him. You know, the Luke Campbell fight was a dangerous fight for him. But I thought that he took that fight because he was gonna get a shot at the world title against Devin Haney if he won. But then when he did win, he didn’t wanna fight Devin Haney.”
Garcia, of Victorville, California, won the WBC interim lightweight title when he beat Campbell. If he retains it by defeating Fortuna, Hearn intends to push for a Haney-Garcia bout to take place sometime in the fall on DAZN.
Meanwhile, Hearn has difficulty making sense of Garcia’s peculiar path toward the Fortuna fight.
“I still feel like if you fight a mandatory, you know, if you fight a fight to become mandatory, like he did against Luke Campbell, you should fight the champion,” Hearn said. “I mean, that’s the whole reason you enter a final eliminator. There’s no other reason to fight a final eliminator, without wanting to fight the champion. Ryan Garcia refused to fight Devin Haney, so we then applied to fight Jorge Linares, and then they made Ryan Garcia fight Fortuna.
“No problem. I mean, two great fights, as long as we get the fight we want at the end of it. You know, but it kinda skirts around the fact that, which, you know, most media and everybody refuse to mention, the fact that Ryan Garcia has refused to fight Devin Haney, and he was his mandatory.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.