Who Next For Ryan Garcia After Career-Defining Win Over Devin Haney?

April 21, 2024
4 weeks
Ryan Garcia raises his arm in victory after his fight with Devin Haney.

Ryan Garcia delivered the performance of his career on Saturday night when he defeated the previously unstoppable Devin Haney by majority decision in an all-time classic.

The build-up to the fight had been dominated by Garcia’s bizarre behavior, both in person and on social media, but when the bell dinged for the first round at the Brooklyn Center, it was all business from ‘King Ry’.

Often criticized for being more of a social media star than an elite-level boxer – especially after his defeat to Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis – Garcia proved all the doubters wrong by dropping Haney three times on his way to a 112-112, 114-110, 115-109 victory.

Consideration must be made for Garcia missing weight by 3.2lbs and therefore entering the ring the far bigger and heavier man. It also meant his chances of taking Haney’s WBC super-lightweight title, and becoming a world champion for the first time, were dashed on the scales.

Yet, this is a seminal moment in Garcia’s career and the Californian will now be looking to move on to other blockbuster nights and more attempts to finally secure a world title.

Speaking in the press conference following the fight, Garcia stated his plans to move up to 147lbs, which makes sense given his struggles to come under the weight limit at 140.

“I’m not doing 140, I’m going 147. I’ve never even technically fought at 140. My body can’t go below 143, it’s literally impossible,” he said, which makes the fact he got down to 138lbs for his catchweight fight with Tank even more impressive.

As Garcia moves up to welterweight, we look at five possible fights.

Terence Crawford

The current unified and former undisputed champion of the division has found it difficult to secure the mega fights and paydays he deserves since dismantling rival Errol Spence Jr last summer. But this could be it.

Crawford has suggested he is moving up to 154 to face WBA junior-middleweight Champion Israil Madrimov in August, but a return to defend his welterweight titles against Garcia would have the whole world watching.

Turki Al Shaikh is reportedly getting involved in Crawford’s career, and Saudi Arabia certainly has pockets deep enough to make the fight happen. With Garcia now the man of the moment, he fits the profile of the fighter the Saudis want to be involved with.

Conor Benn

Despite his various legal problems with the British boxing authorities following his doping suspension, Benn remains a big name and is a star of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable.

Ranked third by both the WBA and WBC, Benn would represent the ideal next challenge for Garcia when he moves to welterweight. The British fighter is unbeaten, and like Garcia, he portrays a cocky and arrogant persona. They are also flashy fighters with power and speed and are both masters of self-promotion.

Benn is also a flawed fighter with many areas of weakness that Garcia can exploit, so the American would secure a big payday while being confident of victory.

Errol Spence Jr

For drama and subplots, a fight with former welterweight world champion Spence would check every box. Garcia tore into Spence during a social media rant the week before his fight with Haney, accusing the American of not paying trainer Derrick James, who also trains Garcia.

Spence has not fought since suffering a devastating one-sided defeat to Crawford last July and has no bouts scheduled for the near future. It is unclear whether Spence is still working with James, but if he’s not, imagine a fight against Garcia with James in the opposite corner? It’s a fight that would sell itself.

Sebastian Fundora

“I had a vision to fight Fundora at 154. I don’t know why, I just feel like I could knock him out. I know that’s really, really random, I just feel like I could get a title at 154 real quick. I’ve fought guys that big before and I’ve knocked them out in sparring, cold. Slept them. I wanna do it. Shout out to Fundora, though, no disrespect.”

This is what Garcia said in his press conference after the Haney fight. It seems like a giant step, to climb two weight divisions to face the unified world champion, but if Garcia genuinely wants it, then Fundora would no doubt accept. It would be his biggest payday after all.

Tim Tzsyu

If Garcia is serious about climbing two divisions to super-welterweight, then Australia’s Tzsyu would appear to be a logical opponent.

The former world champion is coming off his first professional defeat – a split decision loss to Fundora – but he carries plenty of global appeal given both his nationality and the fact his father, Kostya, is a Hall of Famer.

After his win over Haney, Garcia can have his pick of opponents, so it’ll be interesting to see where he goes and who he fights next.