Ryan Garcia overpowered and upset junior welterweight titleholder Devin Haney in Brooklyn, New York, on Saturday to end a wild promotion and fight night – and to ensure that nothing about the entire affair, from start to finish, could have been predicted. As the dust settles, we asked our staff to weigh in (pun absolutely intended) on the fight and its fallout.

Tris Dixon: What just happened? And when I say just, I mean the last eight weeks. I still don’t know if I believe what I’ve seen – if Garcia needs a psych test, or if I now need one! Apart from the fact he missed weight, which is a real negative but yet somehow almost washed over, you have to give Garcia credit for what he did in there against Devin Haney.

That said, Haney said afterwards he had been guilty of sleeping on Garcia’s left hook. That is almost as unprofessional. It is literally the weapon Garcia is best known for. You often feel for a fighter when their best-laid plans go up in smoke but, of course, the story is Garcia. Beforehand, he was being condemned as being on his way to gatekeeper status, and while he might not deserve that “Face of Boxing” tag a few will throw at him, he is right back in the mix as a major player and in line for huge fights.

And how much could those extra 3.2 pounds have helped Haney, who still looked sunken and drawn after having had more than 24 hours to rehydrate and refuel?

Frankly, however, I am glad this particular whirlwind is over.

David Greisman: Garcia will be criticized by some, but he still has the official victory, and that means more opportunities for him. It’s just a question of what those opportunities will be. Garcia says he can’t make 140, and I imagine many junior welterweights won’t take the chance on Garcia coming in overweight again. We don’t know yet how Garcia will look against welterweights, though I’m certainly curious.

For Haney, there are a lot of questions that won’t be answered until we see him back against other junior welterweights. The good news for Haney is that he still has his world title, and there are plenty at 140 who will want to face him for it, and whose desire to face him may be even greater now that he’s lost.

Manouk Akopyan: Garcia was given a puncher’s chance to beat Haney, and he proved he didn’t need more than a sliver of hope to dominate his rival in a way no one believed he could. Garcia came into the fight looking like a train ready to wreck and ended up beating the rails off Haney instead, knocking him down three times with his trademark left hook.

Garcia certainly rose to the occasion, but his win comes with an asterisk because he intentionally blew weight. “Why would I force myself to make weight so I can be weak? Nah I’m here to win. That’s it,” an unapologetic Garcia said on Friday.

Garcia paid a hefty fee (a reported $1.5 million to Haney) for his calculated move and lost out on the chance to win his first world title.

Yes, he won and looked dominant doing so. But his career-defining performance was overshadowed by a devious plan. Winning by any means necessary shouldn’t mean intentionally creating an unlevel playing field.

Lucas Ketelle: Sometimes, something happens that we don’t see coming. That happened last night. A star was born, just as Conor McGregor announced himself nearly a decade ago in knocking out Jose Aldo in another high-profile combat-sports bout. It wasn’t the plot of a movie – Garcia actually made it happen.

Kieran Mulvaney: OK, I’ll be the skunk at the party. Terrific fight and a massive win for Garcia, who deserves immense credit. But amid the chest-thumping from certain promotional entities, a couple rejoinders: No, this doesn’t mean that Garcia was “faking it,” or that media members who expressed concern should be apologizing. Just because he didn’t assume a fetal position on the canvas and start singing “I’ve Got a Pain in My Sawdust” doesn’t mean Garcia isn’t unwell; he absolutely needs people around him to take care of him, probably now more than ever.

Also, the build-up to this fight was vile. In such a dangerous sport, constant references to wanting to kill your opponent are tolerated far too easily. And let’s not forget Garcia straight-up ignored the contracted weight limit. It was a great night for boxing, yes, but I don’t think boxing deserved it.

John Evans: A stunning victory for Garcia who suddenly appeared calm and composed after the fight. Garcia may well have been operating behind a smokescreen since the fight was announced, but missing weight by such a huge margin was very real and shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Only Haney will know whether he was spooked by Garcia’s prefight behavior or bamboozled by his speed and power. But after looking so self-assured during his victory over Regis Prograis, Haney appeared anything but against Garcia.

We waited a long time for a generation of American lightweights to start mixing it up, but they are finally beginning to produce the drama we all expected.

Owen Lewis: I’m feeling pretty stupid right now. Even pre-social-media-meltdown, Garcia had no chance against the composed and complete Haney, as far as I was concerned. In my first BoxingScene column, I criticized the matchup and wished Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez or Shakur Stevenson were fighting Haney instead. I even wondered about the power in Garcia’s left hook, since he had yet to really hurt an A-level opponent with it.

Kudos to Garcia – whose stunning win does not mean he doesn’t need help with his mental health – for proving me thoroughly wrong about everything. Haney’s iffy chin has now been cracked (assist and asterisk goes to Garcia for blowing weight), but most surprising was the defensively sound Haney not finding a way to avoid that devastating left hook. “The Dream” now faces the biggest reality check of his young career.

Jason Langendorf: Shock and awe. After a medical biohazard dumpster fire of a promotion, the fight itself was what left us slack-jawed. Sure, Garcia’s power is dangerous in any matchup, and we had seen Haney wobbled by an aging Jorge Linares, among others. But I can safely say I never saw that coming. Here’s the real question, though: Why didn’t Haney?

As former 154-pound titleholder Ishe Smith wondered aloud on his Zombie Twitter account moments after the fight, why wasn’t there a more obvious and observed plan from Team Haney to snuff Garcia’s best weapon?

I had hoped Garcia might go away after all this, but his win actually makes 140 (and above) more interesting. My only concern, as a boxing fan, is whether it will encourage more fighters to replace substance with style, abuse the system on the scales and behave like unprofessional idiots.

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