A heart-to-heart between Ryan Garcia and his trainer Derrick James was, according to Garcia, “key” to his victory over Devin Haney.

Despite being the underdog, Garcia, 25, appeared under growing pressure to impress on Saturday night against his long-term rival, and defied all expectations by not only being competitive with Haney but by becoming the first to knock him down and then defeat him.

Haney, also 25, was knocked down three times in total and has already spoken of his desire for a rematch, but Garcia succeeding in their fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, defied what appeared to be his turbulent preparations – his mental health and focus were repeatedly questioned – and largely, ahead of their second fight together, because of James.

“That’s a major key,” Garcia said. “We just have great chemistry; Derrick’s like a father figure, besides, obviously, my dad. He’s a father figure, and he always pulls me aside and he don’t seen me cry before, and he was like, ‘Don’t worry about that – you gonna get through this, man, you gonna get through this.’

“I had a vision to fight [next, Sebastian] Fundora at 154. I don’t know why. I just feel like I could knock him out. I know that’s really random. I feel like I could get the title real quick. I’ve fought guys at 154 and I’ve knocked them out in sparring, so I wanna do it. Shout out Fundora, though. No disrespect.

“I had a good conversation with him, before we were making weight and whatever, and I just let him know that I understand what he’s going through,” James explained. “I understand he’s in pain. I understand everything – and at the same time I can comfort him, but I can get on his ass, too. I talk bad to him sometimes.”

“I’ll tell you the truth,” said Garcia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, whose organization, Golden Boy Promotions, has been given a significant lift by Garcia’s success. “Ryan is going to rest – he had a great win. Let him enjoy it; enjoy this, and guess what? Ryan’s calling all the shots now. That’s the fact. 

“He wants to fight at 147. He wants to fight at a catchweight. But guess what? If anybody wants to make money, if anybody wants to make money, they have to fight Ryan. And guess what? He’s gonna call all the shots. That’s it. And guess what? He’s gonna give an exciting fight every single time.”

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