Hall of Fame fighter turned promoter Oscar De La Hoya believes he has boxing’s burgeoning draw in Ryan Garcia

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) will get another crack at proving his star power when he challenges WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

The five-fight pay-per-view card will be presented on DAZN and PPV.com and the matchup will mark Garcia’s second time headlining a PPV event in the last year.

Garcia also headlined a PPV against Gervonta Davis last April and ultimately suffered a knockout loss. The bout was a blockbuster success, reaching 1.2 million PPV buys and $22.8 million in ticket revenue. Garcia and Davis also made over $30 million each for the fight. 

After a bounce-back knockout win against Oscar Duarte in December on DAZN’s regular monthly subscription tier, Garcia is back in the PPV saddle. 

“I do not doubt that this fight will sell extremely well. Ryan is a top-three pay-per-view draw,” De La Hoya told BoxingScene. “Whether you like Ryan Garcia or not, whether he wins or loses, he’s always going to be the A-side because he sells … I love the confidence Ryan has in himself. It’s music to my ears when a fighter says they want to fight the best and they mean it. That’s what a fighter should be.”

Boxing’s top two PPV draws in the United States are currently Canelo Alvarez and Davis. 

Haney’s last two fights against Regis Prograis and Vasiliy Lomachenko kickstarted the former undisputed lightweight champion’s foray as a PPV headliner, but the events didn’t reach anywhere near the big business Garcia and Davis did.

It’s largely why Haney agreed to a 55-45 revenue split in favor of Garcia for the gate, sponsorships, and pay-per-view percentages.

Garcia’s erratic and enigmatic behavior leading up to the fight, however, has thrown unforeseen wrenches in the promotion. 

The New York State Athletic Commission requested a mental health evaluation of Garcia in March. Garcia’s unpredictable antics have also reportedly impacted sponsorship sales, and a lack of ticket sales also led to price drops at the box office.

Business aside, De La Hoya believes the game Garcia will be fully ready come fight night.

“The fight was never in jeopardy [of cancellation] in my eyes,” said De La Hoya. “Finally [Garcia and I] have good, direct communication, which makes life easier for everybody. I like Ryan as a person. He’s a good guy. It’s just staying in communication and getting things done. 

“Whatever we see on social media is one thing. Whatever they’re doing in the gym is another. All I can tell you is that they are in the best shape of their lives. I believe them. It means that [Garcia trainer] Derrick James is doing something right. I think they got the kinks out of the way in their first fight against Oscar Duarte. Now we’re going to probably see a Ryan that we have probably never seen before. I think he’s going to be a complete fighter. I think he’s going to surprise us. We’re going to see a Ryan who is 100 percent in the ring.” 

The main narrative surrounding Garcia’s loss to Davis was that he was forced to fight at a 136-pound catchweight and 10-pound rehydration clause. He also revealed he was dealing with an existing rib injury. 

Garcia will again have his work cut out for him against the uber-talented Haney.

Bookmakers believe Garcia’s chances are slim – he’s a +500 betting underdog against the -750 favorite Haney, according to DraftKings.

“I’ve always said Devin Haney is the top dog. He’s an amazing talent,” said De La Hoya. “Devin Haney is a fun fighter to watch. He put on a masterclass performance against Regis Prograis.” 

Regardless of the result, De La Hoya is adamant that Garcia is destined to be starring as a dance partner against the top dogs. 

“Ryan is always going to be in a very good position to fight the very best,” De La Hoya. “There’s a lot of great fights to be made, but one thing is for sure, and everybody is after Ryan. He’s the ticket seller. He’s the guy. He’s the gatekeeper.” 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.

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