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May 29, 2024

Ryan Garcia scores 3 brutal knockdowns, wins shocking upset of Devin Haney

Ryan Garcia scores 3 brutal knockdowns, wins shocking upset of Devin Haney

Ryan Garcia may have just pulled off the greatest troll job in the history of combat sports.

Displaying nothing short of bizarre behavior during the weeks leading up to his fight against Devin Haney, the 25-year-old California native walked into the ring on Saturday night as a massive underdog, with most expecting him to get blown out. What actually unfolded was nothing short of a stunning performance, as Garcia scored three brutal knockdowns before winning a majority decision to hand Haney the first loss of his professional career.

The final scorecards read 115-109, 114-110, and 112-112, as Garcia got the nod and picked up the biggest victory of his career.

Afterward, Garcia seemed to say the joke was on everybody who dared to doubt him.

“Come on, guys, you really thought I was crazy?” Garcia shouted after his win. “My left hook is my left hook. That’s blessed by God. Whenever I land it, it can put you out or down. You guys hate on me because I’m pretty and s***. That’s f****** up. The truth is in front of you.”

While there were moments were Garcia almost sleepwalked through rounds, when he finally erupted and came after it, Haney had no answer for the power coming for his chin.

Promising a fast start, Garcia came out throwing bombs and connected with a huge left hook that rocked Haney in the first exchange in the fight. With Haney backing up, Garcia stayed on the attack, unleashing a flurry of punches trying to seize on the moment to hurt the undefeated champion.

Haney eventually regained his composure and reset in the center of the ring, with Garcia settling down after the initial adrenaline dump. Replays after the opening round showed Haney’s eyes rolling back in his head after that first punch landed, but he didn’t go down to the canvas.

Despite a tough start, Haney showed no fear moving forward over the next few rounds as he established a slick lead jab and used feints to made Garcia miss with wild haymakers. Midway through the third round, Haney blasted Garcia with a stiff left hand of his own that briefly wobbled Garcia and got the Brooklyn crowd on their feet.

As time passed, Haney took control of the rounds, walking Garcia down and unloading fast combinations in succession. Garcia seemed content to just circle away and occasionally launch a bomb at him, but he was always a step behind Haney in the exchanges.

After refusing to really throw any punches or engage, Garcia opened the sixth with another barrage of shots, with a couple slipping through Haney’s defense. Haney was hurt momentarily, but he recovered to largely control the rest of the round.

The momentum shifted again at the start of the seventh when Garcia unleashed another series of punches, with another huge left hook that cracked Haney and sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Still on rubber legs, Haney tried to survive with Garcia in hot pursuit looking for the knockout.

A few moments later, as the referee tried to break the fighters apart, Garcia threw a punch as the action was paused. The referee deducted a point for Garcia throwing a punch after he called for a break, and that at least partially negated the knockdown that would have given Garcia a guaranteed 10-8 round.

Despite the point deduction, Garcia knew that knockdown changed everything for Haney moving forward.

“I just knew I had control after that,” Garcia said. “It’s hard to recover from big shots.”

Even in the brief moments when Haney started to outpoint his opponent with a technical game plan, the power from Garcia proved to be the difference maker. As the 10th round got underway, Garcia surged forward and unloaded another huge combination that dropped Haney again to his knee for the second knockdown in the fight.

Haney climbed back to his feet, but disaster struck again when Garcia blasted him with another huge left hook that put him on the canvas in the 11th. Garcia began celebrating as Haney struggled to do much of anything more than survive to the bell.

By the end of the fight, Garcia was wagging his tongue and taunting Haney as the crowd roared in approval. What was supposed to be a crowning achievement for Haney turned into his worst nightmare, with Garcia putting him down three times over 12 rounds.

“I’m disappointed with my performance,” Haney said. “He caught me early when I was sleeping on it. I fell asleep on the left hook. I fell asleep and he caught me with it. I thought it was a close fight still.”

Garcia relished the victory, but it can’t be ignored that he missed weight by three pounds, which negated his ability to win the title. Between that and Haney’s previously undefeated record, there’s a good shot these two will see each other again in the near future.

“Yeah, let’s run it back,” Garcia said.

It might take a little while for Haney to truly absorb what just happened, but he already appeared ready to answer that challenge.

“I would love to rematch,” Haney said. “He didn’t make weight so I’m still the champion. We can run it back.”

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