Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith is optimistic that a fight can be put together between Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia this year. Both fighters are with Matchroom, and they have winnable interim fights coming up.
Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) is defending his WBC lightweight crown against Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) on May 29th on DAZN at the Michelob Ultra Arena, Las Vegas Nevada.
For his part, interim WBC 135-lb champion Ryan (21-0, 18 KOs) defends his belt against #2 WBC Javier Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) on July 9th.
It’s another WBC title eliminator for Ryan, who already beat Luke Campbell last January to become Haney’s mandatory. But Ryan chose not to take the fight, and now he’s getting a second chance.
Ryan isn’t expected to turn down the Haney fight again, so we should see the two get it on later this year unless something gets in the way.
Ryan vs. Haney = a huge fight
“He was mandatory, wasn’t he?” said Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith to Behind The Gloves about Ryan Garcia being mandatory to Devin Haney last January. “But he didn’t want the fight.
“Hence, why he’s fighting Fortuna. I’m sure he’s got the reasons for it, but I think the key reason is he doesn’t want to fight Devin Haney.
“It’s a massive fight for both guys, it’s a huge fight. The only reason I could think why he doesn’t want the fight is because he’d get beat. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you take the fight? Who knows?
I’m sure they have their own opinion, but I’m sure it’ll happen down the line. It’s too big of a fight for it not to happen. Hopefully, we can see that happen later this year.
“That doesn’t really make any sense,” said Smith when told that Ryan is calling Haney a paper champion because of the way he was elevated without fighting for the belt.
“If he’s a paper champion, he should be the easiest one to beat, shouldn’t he? Go and get your opportunity to go and win the WBC world title.
“But again, I don’t think he [Ryan] wants the fight because he knows he’ll get beat, and that’s why it hasn’t happened. But again, maybe, hopefully, down the line we can make it happen,” said an optimistic Smith of the Haney vs. Garcia clash.
There could be some truth in what Smith says about Ryan Garcia electing not to fight Haney because he was afraid he’d get beat.
Losing to Manny Pacquiao or Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis wouldn’t have hurt Ryan’s career as badly as it would if he were beaten by the 22-year-old Haney.
It’s not that Haney’s not a good fighter. But he’s not viewed on the same level as Pacquiao or former two-division world champion Tank Davis.
Smith wants Haney vs. Garcia later this year
“It should be easy. Both guys are on the DAZN platform. Ryan is with Golden Boy. It should be quite simple,” said Smith of the Garcia vs. Haney bout.
Touch wood down the line, it’s a fight Devin Haney would take tomorrow, he’ll fight anyone.
It’s a great fight for him, but yeah, let’s get it on later this year,” said Smith about the Haney vs. Ryan Garcia fight.
Ryan will have intense pressure put on him to take the Haney fight if he comes out victorious in his fight against Javier Fortuna on July 9th.
Last January, Ryan was given a pass by the boxing world for not taking the Haney fight because he told the fans that he would try and fight Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis or Manny Pacquiao.
Ryan can’t rely on that excuse a second time and hope that it pacifies the fans, as they’re going to see him as ducking Haney.