Ryan Garcia won’t have time for a victory lap, it seems. WBC head honcho Mauricio Sulaiman tells multiple sources that he’ll soon order the newly minted interim lightweight champion to face world lightweight champion Devin Haney.
Haney (25-0, 15 KO) smashed unbeaten Zaur Abdullaev for that interim belt back in 2019, then got upgraded to full champion when the WBC slapped their idiotic “franchise champion” tag onto Vasiliy Lomachenko. After a successful defense against Alfredo Santiago, a lengthy stint on the shelf due to shoulder surgery bumped him to “champion in recess” status, which was then reversed when COVID ground the boxing world to a halt anyway.
It’s a long, stupid saga that we’ve been over before. The final result was him cruising past Yuriorkis Gamboa in November and receiving two simultaneous mandatory challengers: Javier Fortuna and the winner of Garcia’s (21-0, 18 KO) clash with Luke Campbell this past Saturday.
Title drama aside, this is an excellent clash between extremely promising young fighters, an unfortunately rare occurrence in modern boxing. Any early predictions? Garcia seems to have all the momentum at the moment; he passed the Campbell test with flying colors, proving both his power and resilience in the process, while Haney’s looked flat since the Abdullaev mauling. Then again, he was injured against Santiago and rusty against Gamboa, so that could be deceiving.