BOXING

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR BOXING PREVIEW: Devin Haney v Ryan Garcia

WBC super lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney will reignite an old rivalry this weekend as he welcomes Ryan ‘King’ Garcia to the Barclays Centre in New York City. These two fought six times in the unpaid code and now they are both sitting at the top of the professional game, there is no better time to settle the rivalry once and for all, writes JORDAN NEILD.

At 25, Devin Haney is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet and with wins over the likes of Regis Prograis, Vasyl Lomachenko & George Kambosos Jr on his resume it’s easy to see why. In 31 fights, he has collected world titles in two weight divisions and he is not yet in his prime as an athlete.

Training under the guidance of his father, Bill, ‘The Dream’ has been prepared for life as a professional boxer since a young age. He was travelling around Las Vegas gyms as a teenager learning from the likes of Floyd Mayweather and we are now witnessing the fruits of that labour. Despite his young age, he is comfortable in the limelight and carrying the pressure of headlining in New York City won’t faze him in the slightest.

As a natural back-foot boxer, Haney tends to outclass his opponents rather than knock them out and he has been criticised for his lack of knockouts since reaching world title level. Interestingly, he does have 15 knockouts in 31 wins but each of his last eight victories have all come by decision. Fans can grow frustrated when a fighter isn’t registering ‘viral moments’ but Haney is winning so impressively that it’s difficult to be negative towards him. Whether people like it or not, the champion always plays to his own strengths and no fighter has been able to work him out so far.

Ryan Garcia is yet to win a world title but he is one of the biggest names in the sport and a true crossover star. He is one of few boxers who have capitalised on the social media era and his career has prospered because of it. He hasn’t fought at the same level as Haney yet but he has earned millions of dollars and become a household name and he has only fought once at world level.

Ironically, when Garcia did step-up against Gervonta Davis, he was stopped in seven rounds but he performed well in that fight and didn’t look out of his depth prior to the stoppage. The one-time amateur star certainly has what it takes to win world titles but while fighters like Haney and Davis are focused solely on boxing, Garcia likes to indulge in the celebrity lifestyle.

Worryingly for Garcia, he enters this fight under a cloud of controversy. During the build-up, he has acted out of character on social media and made some bizarre appearances in public leading to people questioning his mental state heading into such a huge event. Boxers acting strangely before big fights is nothing new but Garcia has taken it to new heights and left the boxing world wondering if he should even be sanctioned to fight this weekend.

All controversy aside, this is a brilliant fight between two of boxing’s leading lights. They bring contrasting styles to the ring with Garcia opting to power punch and Haney being one of the finest counter punchers in the sport. Garcia has a vicious left hook which will keep Haney honest but the champion is a master at neutralising his opponents and once he figures out his old rival, it will be difficult for the challenger to put a dent in him.

This will be a fascinating watch but ultimately Devin Haney should get the job done by decision.

Despite all the attention being on Haney vs Garcia, there is some domestic action to keep an eye on as big punching Sam Noakes takes on Yvan Mendy in London for the European lightweight title. Noakes is 13-0 (13KO) but he is yet to face a fighter with the pedigree of Mendy.

British fight fans will remember Mendy after he travelled to the UK in 2015 and upset Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell. He was younger and fresher back then but he enters this fight in good form and with a wealth of professional experience under his belt.

Noakes looks like one of the biggest punchers the UK have produced in some time and he will be hoping to make a statement here against his 38-year-old opponent. Mendy is a tough man who has never been stopped but at this point of his career, it’s hard to envision him being able to tame a young fighter like Noakes for twelve rounds.

Sam Noakes to win by KO/TKO is worth some consideration.


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PROFIT/LOSS (APR 2024): -10.17 POINTS


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