Undefeated WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney is set to defend his title against longtime rival Ryan Garcia this Saturday, April 20th, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Devin and Ryan are very familiar with each other having fought in the amateurs six times, with them splitting the matches at an even 3-3.

This bout will settle the score and propel the winner onto the championship path of facing other divisional champions: Subriel Matias, Isaac Cruz, and Teofimo Lopez.

Ryan Garcia has taken an unconventional approach to both selling the fight and enacting psychological warfare against Devin Haney.

His antics are both comical and disturbing. At yesterday’s final press conference his persona appeared as a mixture of Mike Tyson and Conor McGregor. Ryan has questioned Devin’s manhood repeatedly via social media and it seems to have had some affect on him, as Devin angrily pushed Ryan at their face off at the top of the Empire State building on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Ryan needs to be more calculated. He’s boxing a technician with great lateral movement and an excellent jab. He must find a way to both cut the ring and neutralize Devin’s jab. Jorge Linares, Joseph Diaz, and Vasiliy Lomachenko were all competitive against Haney. They found ways to close the distance and challenge Haney.

At Thursday’s presser, Haney stated he would meet Ryan in the center of the ring. If this is true, Garcia can legitimately compete against Haney.

In his matches against Linares and Diaz, Haney demonstrated a weakness in defending his left side. Linares landed multiple check hooks, and Diaz connected on several overhand lefts. Garcia’s best punch is the left hook, he also has good speed and power.

If he’s able to effectively defend Haney’s jab by parrying and slipping he’ll be able to diminish Devin’s offense and create openings to land the left. Against Diaz, Haney only landed 24 more punches.

In his last match against Regis Prograis – – Devin looked very impressive but what many forget is the 34-year-old had a similar performance against Danielito Zorrilla, connecting on a lowly 42 punches. Which is only six less than what he had against Devin, 36 punches (Compubox).

If Devin Haney can utilize lateral movement effectively, as he is more than expected to do, he will force Ryan to become mobile and create offensive challenges for Garcia.

As a professional boxer, Ryan has faced few mobile fighters. Emmanuel Tagoe is the last one that comes to mind, when he suffered a second-round knockdown against Garcia, he was able to survive the match by utilizing lateral movement to evade Garcia as much as possible.

Although he lost, Garcia demonstrated some limitations in his ability to cut off the ring. That match was nearly two years ago, if the 25-year-old Garcia hasn’t improved in that area, he’ll struggle against a much more agile and elusive Haney.

Will Ryan’s insults cause Devin to become undisciplined and fight Ryan’s fight, and fight on the inside? There is some familiarity between the two, having competed against each other in the past.

Ryan will seek to time Devin and land the perfect punch. Haney if disciplined, will box on the outside, control the distance, utilize the jab, and outpoint Garcia.

Read the full article here