The Ryan Garcia show is ready to take off after upset of Devin Haney | Opinion

We don’t know whether or to what extent Ryan Garcia is off his rocker.

He exhibited signs of serious issues in the lead-up to his fight against Devin Haney on Saturday, acting erratically at every turn, but at least some of that appears to have been an act to sell the fight and himself. And the fact he missed weight by 3.2 pounds, which was unprofessional and cost him $1.5 million, raised further questions about his mindset.

What we DO know now with certainty is that Garcia can fight.

Garcia gave one of the most stunning performances in recent years at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, overcoming whatever outside-the-ring problems he might have to put Haney down three times and win a majority decision in an unforgettable fight.

When everything is taken into account – Garcia’s behavior, his inability to make weight, his knockout loss to Gervonta Davis, Haney’s reputation – the events of Saturday were mind boggling.

Remember that the gifted, disciplined Haney came into the fight on many pound-for-pound lists – No. 10 on Boxing Junkie’s – after a series of victories over one elite opponent after another the past few years. Some thought he could rise to No. 1.

And the crazy kid with a suspect skill set turned him into his personal pinata with arguably the most dangerous punch in boxing pound-for-pound, his left hook, which Haney could neither avoid nor take.

Ryan Garcia (white trunks) knocks down Devin Haney (gray trunks) during their WBC Super Lightweight title bout at Barclays Center on April 20, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Garcia will never be confused with boxing wizards like Shakur Stevenson and Vasiliy Lomachenko, but he left no doubt on Saturday that his combination of unusual speed and power can compensate for any deficiencies, even against a pound-for-pounder.

The 3.2 extra pounds at the weigh-in mars the victory to some extent. We’ll always wonder whether Garcia had an unfair advantage, both in terms of the added weight and the fact he didn’t have to punish himself to make 140. His misstep cost him $1.5 million and chance to fight for Haney’s title but he might’ve been bigger and stronger than Haney, who made weight.

Still, we saw what we saw, Garcia’s ability to land his signature punch against an opponent many believed was moving in the direction of superstardom, put him on the canvas the first three times of his career and claim a defining victory in the sports capital of the United States.

What now?

Garcia suggested afterward that he would give Haney a rematch, which would be well received after the drama on Saturday. We’ll see, though. That performance and the social media star’s unquestioned popularity gives him unlimited options – and tremendous leverage – even though he has never won a major world title.

Every top fighter at 140 and 147 (if he moves up) is going to want to take on Garcia because of the money he generates and perceived limitations. Teofimo Lopez? Shakur Stevenson? A rematch with Davis?

The Ryan Garcia show appears to be in the early stages of a long, successful run.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie