By Jeff Aronow: Eddie Hearn wants pressure to be put on Ryan Garcia to finally face WBC lightweight champion, Devin Haney if he successfully gets past his next opponent Javier Fortuna on July 9th.
WBC interim 135-lb champion Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is fighting Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) on DAZN with the idea that the winner will challenge Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) for his title later this year.
However, Ryan, 22, already fought a WBC-ordered lightweight title eliminator earlier this year on January 2nd against Luke Campbell, and after winning that fight, he decided against challenging Haney.
Ryan’s excuse for not using his mandatory status to challenge Haney was that he wanted to take on a bigger-name fighter in Manny Pacquiao and Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis.
Neither of those fights happened, and now Ryan is back to square one, fighting 31-year-old Fortuna on July 9th for less money than he would have made had he taken the fight with Haney.
Hearn believes that Ryan’s team felt that Haney was too big of a risk for him to take the fight.
If Hearn’s theory is correct on why Ryan didn’t take the Haney fight, we’ll likely see him continue to avoid making the match if he defeats Fortuna.
Hearn: Ryan avoided Haney
“With Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney. ‘I only want to fight Pacquiao, and I only want to fight Tank. Those are the only fights I’m interested in,'” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV in discussing how Ryan sidestepped Haney earlier this year.
“Okay, so you avoid Devin Haney, who you’re actually mandatory for, which is a big payday, and then you go fight [Javier] Fortuna, which is a good fight.
“Fans got to look at things sometimes and say,’ ‘That doesn’t make sense.’ Those are two instances that don’t make sense, and basically what it come down to is, the teams don’t want to fight those people because they think they’re too tough a fight.
“I don’t think people, and it’s not about giving Ryan heat because he’s a great kid and a great fighter,” Hearn continued. I think he’s great for the sport,” Hearn said.
Ryan had the Tank Davis fight in the palm of his hand but then threw it away when he thought he had a chance to fight Pacquiao. What he saw was fools gold because there no way the fight with the 42-year-old Pacquiao could be made.
Ultimately, the backlash that the Filipino senator received from boxing fans upon hearing that he was planning to fight Ryan may have proved too much.
This time, Ryan will probably take the fight with Haney because it’ll be patently obvious that he’s avoiding him if he doesn’t accept the match.
Haney was too tough a fight for Ryan
“But in that situation, you have to say, ‘Hang on.’ The Luke Campbell fight with Ryan was a [WBC] final eliminator for Devin Haney. It was for the WBC interim title. The winner is mandated to fight Haney,” said Hearn.
“He [Ryan Garcia] won that fight in a great performance, and then the WBC said, ‘Right, you’re going to fight Haney.’ Then he went and Golden Boy went, ‘No, we’re not actually.’ So okay, we’re going to go for Tank and we’re going to go or Pacquiao.’ Two fights, if they got that over Haney, mate, one million percent, your right to take them.
“Okay, they weren’t possible. So then, you fight another guy [Javier Fortuna]. The money to fight Haney is massive but it’s just that his team looks at Devin Haney and goes, ‘That’s a really tough fight,'” said Hearn.
You got to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt that he honestly thought he would get a big money fight with Tank and Pacquiao. He seemed he wanted those fights.
I mean, you can’t fake the kind of enthusiasm that Ryan showed when talking about wanting to fight the unbeaten Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) and superstar Pacquiao.
What concerns this writer is that Ryan isn’t talking about wanting to fight Haney after his match with Fortuna. For Ryan not to talk about wanting to fight Haney, he probably won’t fight him.
If Ryan chooses not to take the fight with Haney, he’ll either continue to milk his interim WBC strap against beatable opposition, or he’ll use his popularity to set up a big-paying fight against an undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez.
Hearn hoping Ryan will fight Haney after Fortuna
“Those fights have to become big enough like Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia, which for me is one of the best fights in boxing,” said Hearn. “I hear, ‘He’s COVID, we need to do this and do that.’
“When these fights [Javier Fortuna and Jorge Linares] are out of the way, if Ryan Garcia doesn’t fight Devin Haney if he beats Fortuna and Haney beats Linares, there’s really something wrong.
“Everyone should be putting pressure on that fight [Haney vs. Ryan Garcia], and they’re two great fights. I’m not knocking Ryan Garcia against Fortuna. It’s a really good fight, and Linares could beat Haney, who knows?
“So they’re good fights for the division, but if they both win, I feel like someone needs to put some pressure on [Ryan] to say, ‘Guys, come on.’
“Because you can’t talk about other people and ignore them. You can’t say, ‘I want Teofimo, I want Tank, I want Lomachenko and not mention Devin Haney,” said Hearn.
We’ll see soon enough which direction Ryan goes in after the Fortuna fight. It might be a mistake to assume that Ryan beats Fortuna because this is a dangerous fight for him.
You can argue it’s a 50-50 match-up, which could go badly for Ryan if he doesn’t defend himself better than he did in his last fight against Luke Campbell.