Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia preview and prediction

Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia is set for Saturday night. Here's how we think the controversial fight will go.
Devin Haney v Ryan Garcia - Los Angeles Press Tour
Devin Haney v Ryan Garcia - Los Angeles Press Tour / Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/GettyImages

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, will host one of boxing's most anticipated fights of 2024 this upcoming weekend. Devin "The Dream" Haney (31-0, 15 KOS) will make the first defense of his WBC super lightweight (140) title against Ryan Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs). 

The battle between the two 25-year-olds will mark the sixth time the two have met inside the squared circle. They fought six times in the amateur ranks, splitting an even record of 3-3 against one another. In the 2020s, fans and pundits hailed Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Teofimo Lopez, Haney, and Garcia as the sport's next potential stars. The more impatient dubbed them the heir apparent 'kings' of boxing, along the lines of the 1980s quartet of Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler.  

All five fight or have fought within the same weight classes ranging from 130 to 140 pounds. Thus far, despite several in-person confrontations and social media arguments, only Davis and Garcia have stepped into the ring to fight. 

Along with Davis, Garcia is arguably the most popular and well-known of the five aforementioned fighters. However, he is the only one who has yet to win a world title. In January 2021, on the cusp of a championship opportunity after scoring the most significant win of his career, a seventh-round knockout over Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell, Garcia took a hiatus from the sport to deal with mental health issues. 

After returning more than a year later, in April 2022, Garcia began to treat trainers like a revolving door. After a period of time training under Eddy Reynoso, Canelo Alvarez's trainer, Garcia changed to veteran Joe Goosen. After the loss to Davis in April 2023, Garcia again changed and switched his training team, joining Derek James, a famed trainer out of Texas who is best known for his work with Errol Spence Jr. and Jermell Charlo. 

Before and after the loss to Davis, rumors circulated in boxing circles that Garcia didn't take his training seriously and would often only do what he wanted in the gym. In the midst of another world title opportunity, Garcia's behavior has become confusing and sporadic. At the press conferences, Garcia seemed out of sorts, mentioning smoking and drinking. 

The bizarre behavior continued on social media posts, where he randomly unleashed on celebrities, and in interviews to promote the fight, where he exhibited rather strange conduct. Garcia is blurring the lines between promotion and reality, with many wondering if his actions are on purpose. 

"The interpretations of other people - that's on them," Garcia said during a media workout in Dallas. "I know I am training hard. I am feeling great and looking good in the gym; people just need to look at the facts. I don't regret anything I said or did in the lead-up to this fight. I'm just ready to kick ass on April 20. I know I can say a lot, but I know I need to show it.

"You won't hear from any trainer out there that I don't train hard. To me, it's very disrespectful to dismiss all the hard work I have done since I was a young boy coming up. I have been training since I was seven-years-old. It's a slap in the face to all the work me and my family did." 

Following a tightly contested match with three-division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, where a large segment of fans believed he lost, Haney moved up to the junior welterweight division. The weight change contributed to Haney putting forth one of the best performances of his career when he dominated Regis Prograis to win the WBC super lightweight title. Haney won all 12 rounds on all three judges' scorecards and knocked the normally iron-chinned Prograis down in the third round.  

The former undisputed lightweight champion has faced his share of criticism from fans outside of the ring and adversity inside the ring in his fights with Lomachenko, Jorge Linares and Joseph Diaz. Through his willingness to stay active and his desire to make fights happen by working with numerous promoters, Haney has earned a level of respect from boxing fans. Unlike Garcia, Haney exudes a level of focus on his career that puts boxing as a priority.

According to Draft Kings, Haney is a -800 favorite over Garcia. Their in-ring accomplishments, style, and skillset were all factors in the odds favoring Haney. However, the perception that Haney is the more dedicated fighter of the two has also contributed to the odds. 

"I have respect for Ryan," Haney said. We shared the ring six times as kids. We came up together. However, over the last few days, I have lost a lot of respect for him because 1—we have a fight. Look at how much media is here to watch us. I am a true professional in everything that I do."

Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia prediction

With the spotlight at its brightest, Garcia underperformed against Gervonta Davis. He looked overanxious and took chances not because of openings he saw but because he wanted to get the fight over with. At the elite level of boxing, one's mentality can make the difference between winning and losing. All of Garcia's antics could be misdirection, allowing Haney to underestimate him. Garcia's strategy will rely on landing a blow during an exchange that hurts Haney. 

He may be frustrated by Garcia's actions outside the ring, but Haney should be prepared with a game plan for his opponent. A blueprint with openings has already been laid out for handling Garcia. Haney may not be able to hurt Garcia with one single blow in the same manner as Davis. He isn't a puncher on that level. We'll likely see Haney outboxing and thwarting Garcia over 12 rounds. There will be some intense moments with Garcia throwing punches in desperation, but Haney will be far too ahead on the judge's scorecards en route to a wide unanimous decision.

Prediction: Devin Haney via decision


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