Ryan Garcia BEATS Devin Haney and stuns the boxing world after a dominant performance in Brooklyn that saw troubled star knock down the world champion THREE times

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Written By Maya Cantina

There was still around a minute left in round seven when a cameraman began to climb between the ropes and the DJ began to blare music around this arena. 

Inside the ring, legs were wobbling, bodies were becoming entangled, points were being scratched off scorecards and referee Harvey Dock was losing control.

Bedlam had broken out at Barclays Center. Just as many had predicted. There had been fears that after all the nonsense and all the warning signs and all the red flags, Ryan Garcia’s public meltdown would culminate in chaos on Saturday night. And so it proved. Garcia had threatened to bite or kill Devin Haney. Disorder or disqualification seemed as likely as a 12-round decision.

There was only really one possibility that no one seriously entertained: Garcia could actually win this fight. 

Not against the unbeaten, seemingly untouchable Haney. Not after the torment and mental torture that had played out on social media, on the microphone and even atop the Empire State building. Not, at least, until Garcia detonated a left hook in the first minute of the first round. That had Haney wobbling and set the tone for a night when very little made sense.

Ryan Garcia produced a stunning upset to beat Devin Haney at Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Garcia scored three knockdowns on the world champion to claim a majority decision victory

Garcia scored three knockdowns on the world champion to claim a majority decision victory 

Garcia delivered several of his trademark left hooks to take the fight away from Haney

Garcia delivered several of his trademark left hooks to take the fight away from Haney

By round seven, all hell had broken loose. Haney was on the floor and no one – not that cameraman, not the DJ – seemed entirely sure what was unfolding. By round 11, Haney had hit the deck again and Garcia was celebrating atop the turnbuckle.

As the final bell approached, Garcia was shuffling his shoulders, shaking his knees and flashing his tongue at Haney. He had secured three knockdowns, seen a couple more waved off, and had had a point deducted by the referee. The pro-Haney crowd had shifted their allegiance. And yet? Uncertainty lingered.

This is boxing and this was a bonkers fight when Garcia fought only in sparing, devastating flashes.

All of which made the scorecards difficult to predict. Between the chaos, there was plenty of chess, when Haney seemed in control but nothing much happened at all.

In the end, one judge couldn’t separate them but the other two had Garcia by four points and six points to Garcia. After a promotion which left a stain on boxing, these two put on a glorious reminder of boxing’s best. The only frustration? This remarkable performance – by far the biggest win of Garcia’s career and one of the most dramatic upsets of recent years – wasn’t rewarded with a first world title.

Haney did his best to land some blows of his own but could barely land a glove on Garcia

Haney did his best to land some blows of his own but could barely land a glove on Garcia

Instead it was Garcia who did the most damage, sending Haney to the canvas three times

Instead it was Garcia who did the most damage, sending Haney to the canvas three times

He surrendered his shot at the WBC super lightweight crown – and $1.5million – when he came in 3lbs overweight. How much did those extra 3lbs help? How much did shedding them take out of Haney? Who knows.

But Garcia’s antics on the scales were among the final signs that suggested he should never have been allowed to fight on Saturday.

There had been the video that said Garcia’s throat had been slit and in the claims he was raped by a relative. The divorce from the mother of his newborn son and the marriage proposal to an Australian porn star. The conspiracy theories about Tupac, aliens and Elon Musk.

Concern only intensified in the hours before the first bell. Garcia wore a t-shirt that carried a chilling warning: ‘Murder on my mind’. He warmed up to a soundtrack of symphonies by a string quartet.

When he finally left his locker room – sweat glinting off his face – Garcia popped a crown on to his bowed head. By then, an exciting matchup between two young Americans had threatened to become a symbol of shame for the sport. And intrigue over how a might unfold had morphed into genuine concern about what a fighter might do.

In the final round, when he knew it had been won, Garcia taunted his opponent in the rin

In the final round, when he knew it had been won, Garcia taunted his opponent in the rin

Garcia poses with Beto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Derrick James, and Bernard Hopkins

Garcia poses with Beto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, Derrick James, and Bernard Hopkins

Garcia’s loved ones, his trainer Derrick James, his promoter Oscar De La Hoya, and the New York State Athletic Commissioners – who tested the mind of this 25-year-old – all ignored pleas to pull him out. That shouldn’t be forgotten just because of this result.

One thing we have always known about Garcia is that he carries brutal power. He showed with the fight’s first meaningful punch and time and again thereafter.

In between his opponent’s flurries, Haney tried to gain control but to no avail. He picked up rounds and hurt Garcia without ever fully taming his opponent. He played with fire every time he hooked when Garcia hooked. And he paid the price.

It was Garcia’s signature left hook that did for Haney time and again. He was badly hurt in round seven but allowed to continue. Garcia, smelling blood, threw a punch after the fighters were separated and was deducted a point. Haney held on and hit the canvas twice more before the end of the round but neither was ruled a knockdown.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Haney was surviving from them on. He showed tremendous grit to get up again in round 10 and 11. But he could find no answers.

These two were around 10 years old when they first shared a ring. By the time they both turned professional, Haney and Garcia had fought six times and both won three. In the months before meeting here, however, they had been diverted down wildly different paths. Only a fool would try and predict where they will be and where they will end up come fight No 8.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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