There is no doubt whatsoever in Eddie Hearn’s mind who awaits the winner of the Regis Prograis-Devin Haney showdown December 9 in San Francisco.
“We’ll make the Ryan Garcia fight,” Hearn told a group of reporters after their press conference Tuesday. “I mean, that’s, you know, DAZN know that the winner of this fight should fight Ryan Garcia. I mean, Ryan Garcia is with DAZN, he’s with Golden Boy. That fight is so easy to make right now. And I think whoever wins this fight, you know, if it’s Devin Haney, if it’s Regis Prograis, it’s a February, it’s a March fight in Vegas, in Los Angeles, against Ryan Garcia. And it’s a massive, massive fight for boxing.”
Rival promoter Bob Arum has expressed interest in matching Garcia against the 140-pound champion his company promotes, Teofimo Lopez, perhaps on the Saturday night before Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled to be played February 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Hearn envisions Arum’s Top Rank Inc. having difficulty closing a deal for what would be a highly anticipated Lopez-Garcia bout because Matchroom Boxing’s chairman thinks Lopez will be unreasonable in negotiations.
“I think the winner of this [Prograis-Haney] fight is the man at 140 because Teofimo, as good as his wins are, you never know what he’s gonna do,” Hearn explained. “One of the problems with Teofimo Lopez, and this is a problem for Top Rank and ESPN, when you talk about that Heisman date, you can’t rely on this guy to do a sensible deal for a fight. Like, you imagine trying to negotiate with Teofimo Lopez to fight Ryan Garcia. Can you imagine the numbers that he would pull from the sky?
“You know, we’ve asked with Devin, we have the relationship where, you know, be sensible, but get your worth. And I just think that it’s a conversation that wouldn’t take long to make that fight. People have been talking about Devin Haney-Ryan Garcia for a long time, and it’s a mega fight. But if Regis goes in and knocks Devin Haney out, all of a sudden he puts himself up there as a top pound-for-pound fighter himself.”
Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) is scheduled to fight December 2 for the first time since his seventh-round knockout loss to Gervonta Davis on April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Victorville, California native will meet Mexico’s Oscar Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in a 12-round junior welterweight fight DAZN will stream from Toyota Center in Houston.
Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs), of Katy, Texas, will defend his WBC super lightweight title against Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), of Henderson, Nevada, in a 12-round, 140-pound title fight that’ll headline a DAZN Pay-Per-View show a week later at Chase Center in San Francisco.
Top Rank attempted to schedule Lopez’s next fight for December 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York, in conjunction with ESPN’s annual telecast immediately after the network’s Heisman Trophy presentation special. Brooklyn’s Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs), who upset Scottish southpaw Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-rounder to win the WBO junior welterweight title June 10 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, doesn’t have a deal done for his next bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.