Once counted out, Garcia now 'calling all the shots' — what about Haney?

NEW YORK — Ryan Garcia was laughed at, mocked and called a clown by Devin Haney. At no time during the lead-up to his fight with one of the pound-for-pound best was Garcia taken seriously.

That is, until the opening minute of Saturday’s fight, when he rocked Haney with one of his blinding left hooks. Right then and there it was clear: For all of Garcia’s wild antics, and they were plentiful, he was more than game.

This despite the fact Garcia admitted he drank alcohol during training camp and was even seen shirtless at a New York club the Monday evening of fight week. Haney, on the other hand, is regarded by boxing industry insiders as one of the most disciplined fighters in the sport.

“[Ryan] is calling all the shots. If anybody wants to make money, they have to fight Ryan.”

Osca De La Hoya

But Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) owns the great equalizer with his hands that are as heavy as they are quick. There were questions about Haney’s chin, but he had never been knocked down in 31 previous pro fights. Garcia, 25, proceeded to plant him on the canvas three times (Rounds 7, 10 and 11). He hurt Haney (31-1, 15 KOs) on several other occasions, too.

Garcia prevailed by majority decision (112-112, 115-109 and 114-110) in the biggest win of his career, and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya said his fighter is now “calling all the shots. If anybody wants to make money, they have to fight Ryan.”

Haney, meanwhile, remains the WBC junior welterweight champion in defeat after Garcia missed the 140-pound limit Friday by 3.2 pounds. But his No. 6 ranking on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list? Vanquished. And if a rematch is going to happen, it seems destined to take place at 147 pounds after Garcia said he would campaign at welterweight going forward.

He even mentioned a shot at Sebastian Fundora, the 6-foot-6 champion at 154 pounds. When you score the sort of major upset Garcia pulled off, all sorts of possibilities that seemed outlandish mere hours earlier are now in play. Especially when you consider Garcia’s incredible star power with 18 million-plus social media followers.

A rematch with Gervonta Davis, who scored a seventh-round KO of Garcia in last April’s superfight, is an intriguing option if Davis defeats Frank Martin on June 15. However, that bout is for Davis’ 135-pound title. De La Hoya said he would entertain a rematch at a 145-pound catchweight. Davis-Garcia was fought at a 136-pound catchweight with a same-day rehydration clause where 146 pounds couldn’t be exceeded.

“I had no mind; I was dehydrated. It was really bad,” Garcia, who entered the bout rated No. 9 by ESPN at 140 pounds, said regarding that weight cut. “I should have actually died cutting that weight. I should have really, but God protected me because I was blistering out of my mouth. I had no spit. It hurt every day to make that weight. I was shaking in the bed.”

It was expected the title would become vacant, but WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman mentioned precedent with the 2005 rematch between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. Corrales stopped Castillo in the historic first meeting but was knocked out in Round 4 of the second bout after Castillo was overweight for the WBC lightweight title bout.

Haney is in line for a step back in opposition after the brutal nature of the fight — his cheeks were badly swollen — along with the torrid run he has been on. The 25-year-old twice traveled to Australia to defeat George Kambosos Jr. in 2022.

Last year, Haney outpointed future Hall of Famer Vasiliy Lomachenko to retain his undisputed lightweight championship, then moved up to 140 pounds in December to shut out Regis Prograis for a second division title.

Like Garcia, Haney, too, endured a challenging weight cut and could move up to welterweight. If he remains at 140 pounds, Haney could fight his mandatory challenger, Sandor Martin, the Spaniard who sent Mikey Garcia into retirement with a major upset win in 2021 and then dropped a controversial decision to Teofimo Lopez the following year.

Whatever Haney does next — title or not — it’s clear that De La Hoya is right: Garcia is the one now calling the shots.

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