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Garcia drops Haney 3 times, ekes out thrilling upset win

Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Ryan Garcia pulled off an early front-runner for Upset of the Year against Devin Haney on Saturday night, defeating him via majority decision (112-112, 114-110, 115-109) in an instant classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Garcia relied on his powerful left hook to drop Haney three times - in the seventh, 10th, and 11th rounds - en route to handing Haney his first career defeat.

Haney remains the WBC junior welterweight champion after Garcia missed weight by 3.2 pounds Friday, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed on X.

Both Garcia and Haney said postfight that they would be interested in a rematch. Garcia entered the bout as a 6-1 underdog.

"I thought it was a close fight still," Haney said. "I would love to rematch. I gave him a shot. It's only right he gives me a shot back."

Haney was the more consistent boxer throughout the 12-round affair, but Garcia's spurts of offense - which led to the three knockdowns - were enough to sway the scorecards in his favor.

Garcia came out firing on all cylinders and rocked Haney in the opening minute of the fight. Haney didn't go down, but it was as hurt as he'd ever been up to that point.

"He caught me early when I was sleeping on it," Haney said. "He caught me by surprise. I fell asleep on the left hook. We trained for it ... but I fell asleep."

Haney survived the early adversity and found his groove throughout the first half of the contest, landing jabs and right hands while putting his opponent under pressure.

The momentum swung in Garcia's favor in Round 7 when he floored Haney with a left hand, becoming the first fighter to drop Haney in a boxing match. Referee Harvey Dock took a point from Garcia for landing a punch on the break.

"I just knew I had control after that," Garcia said. "It's hard to recover after big shots."

Haney rallied in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Garcia once again put him on the canvas in the 10th - and then again in the 11th - to swing the fight in his direction.

After 36 minutes of action, Garcia outstruck Haney 106-87 in total punches and 95-45 in power punches. Haney boasted the edge in jabs 42-11.

Garcia made several erratic comments on social media and in interviews in the lead-up to the fight, casting doubt about whether he had a chance of beating a top pound-for-pound boxer like Haney. Some even questioned whether Garcia should've been in the fight at all. But the 25-year-old star proved those doubters wrong by pulling off a massive upset victory.

"Come on, guys, you really thought I was crazy? You done lost your whole mind," Garcia said.

"You guys overrate everything. You guys hate on me because I'm pretty and shit. Man, that's f----d up. At the end of the day, I've been boxing my whole life."

Garcia has now won two straight, putting an April 2023 knockout loss to Gervonta "Tank" Davis in the rearview mirror. Garcia, one of the most popular boxers in the world, is 25-1 with 20 knockouts.

Haney falls to a lifetime 31-1 with the loss. The 25-year-old moved up in weight and defeated Regis Prograis via unanimous decision last December to capture the WBC junior welterweight title. Haney previously won the undisputed welterweight belt in 2022.

"I'm disappointed with my performance," Haney said, "but I showed that I was a true champion and that I can fight after getting knocked down and being hurt."

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