Allan Cerf breaks down a very close fight.
It seems one can only do so many mythical matchups! During this enforced lull we fans think about boxing but there is no boxing – so we continue to think about it. Rinse, wash, repeat.
My superb editor, John Raspanti, gave me a couple of possible assignments and here we go.
Will They Fight? Barring an upset along the way to one or both, I certainly think so. Love/hate Deontay Wilder, I give him credit for telling the truth about promoters – If fighters truly want it done, it’s going to get done.
It’s a natural promotion. Two charismatic and appealing 21 year olds in the same weight division. Both cocky and confident. BUT – even had Covid-19 not come along, whether these two would actually throw hands – or just barbs on social media in 2020, is uncertain. It would be a shame – but one we should prepare for: That the hardest shot either absorbs from the other this year – may be on Twitter.
Who Wins? That’s a great question. Let’s face it, while I know boxing very well indeed, it’s the insiders at famous gyms who probably have the best insight. I really don’t know enough from the duo’s performances against modest competition to fully gauge those intangibles: Heart, determination, stamina and desire. Hey- I hate sports clichés and clichés, generally, with a passion. But… in boxing that old saw “Styles make fights,” is in fact, true to a degree. For example, Joe Frazier and Ken Norton gave the 70’s version of Ali, hell. Yet Foreman destroyed them both. Yet Ali whipped Foreman! So who is better, Foreman or Ali?
After intense study, here’s what I’ve seen. While Haney would appear to have better fundamentals, he seems to need to plant his feet just so to punch. Garcia is definitely lighter on his feet. Garcia appears quicker and faster (there’s a difference) and is a master of my favorite punch for a right-hander – the left uppercut. Garcia seems to have a better punch variety, and interestingly, seems to punch better at a distance, despite Haney having a slight reach advantage.
Defensively, I have to say Haney has a marked edge. Ryan Garcia does keep his hands up most of the time, but he also inexplicably drops them at others. Not in the Tyson Fury, Joe Calzaghe, Roy Jones, “Hey it works,” way, either. Garcia, after flurries, plain and simple sometimes drops his hands – in the defensively deficient sense. And as good as his left uppercut is, his right uppercut is often strangely telegraphed and slow. He better be careful not to be timed or to throw that shot from too far away.
So who the hell wins? I’m coming to it!
Fighter’s Grades: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Devin “The Dream” Haney: B B- B B A B B- (Average of all) B (3.1)
Ryan ‘Kingry’ Garcia: B+ B B B A B B- (Average of all) B (3.1)
Competition and Training: Here’s where there might be some separation?
Well, Garcia is trained by Eddie Reynoso, while Haney is trained by his father. But in breaking news, Floyd Mayweather, much to the unease of his other protégé, Tank Davis, has been jawing with Garcia. But then, Oscar has shown a few tricks to Garcia… but then those two had a falling out but patched it up and anyway, Floyd beat Oscar. So? Well, Haney has a big amateur win over Garcia. And so? Garcia edged Haney in 2014. They were kids. Haney fought a huge amount of Mexican opponents, many in Mexico, which is like a rugged grad school. And it started age sixteen because U.S. laws prevented Haney fighting here so young.
Maybe we at maxboxing.com will step up this year and use my friend, statistician, and Cal Berkeley Graduate, Brad Bleidecker, to assign ratings to a fighter’s opponents using regression analysis. I’ve talked about doing this since 2015, but one thing or another came up and I didn’t. This would allow me to say with confidence for example – that Haney’s competition, or Garcia’s, is simply better. Until then, all I can say is neither have set the world on fire on the strength of their resumes. Neither have signature wins or anything close to it. Both need one, badly. At least I think they do.
SO, WHO WINS? It’s a very tough call. But, despite his lesser mobility, slower hands, and surprisingly low KO percentage (though he has more fights than Garcia which impacts things) I slightly favor Haney. This is one of the most difficult calls I’ve had to make in years. I think Haney is tougher; certainly fighting in Mexico repeatedly, as a teenager, is a strong indication. Haney is also much more confident in my view. Finally, love or hate Floyd, if Haney does go on to spend serious time at the Mayweather gym, it’s a masterclass by any reasonable standard – and then some.
As I say, sadly, I don’t think the two would have been matched in 2020 even without Covid-19. Both are sacred cows for their promoters.
If these two throw hands this year, I narrowly favor Haney by close, clear decision. It’s also not unthinkable to me that he could stop Garcia late – but I’d lean towards a decision victory.
Devin Haney UD Ryan Garcia, 12.
Am I right, wrong, or just plain crazy? Please let me know.