In the aftermath of his upset 12-round unanimous decision win over WBC light welterweight champion Devin Haney (31-1, 15 KOs) last Saturday night, underdog Ryan Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) felt the referee prevented him from scoring a knockout in the seventh round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Surprisingly, referee Harvey Dock only counted one of Garcia’s four knockdowns in the seventh round against the favorite, Haney. More importantly, the ref stopped the action after the first knockdown to deduct a point from Ryan for hitting on the break without warning him.

The Controversy in Round Seven

Ryan was frustrated about how the seventh round played out, feeling that he was prevented from scoring a knockout.

  • Missed Knockdowns: Ryan knocked Haney four times in round seven, but the referee counted only one of them.
    Premature Point Deduction: Referee Harvey Dock halted the fight in the seventh to penalize Ryan a point for hitting on the break, but he failed to warn him before that.
    Haney’s Recovery: The time that the referee took to take a point away from Ryan for hitting on the break appeared to be enough for him to recover from the knockdown that had occurred moments before.
  • Devin’s Holding: Haney clinched excessively in the seventh and wasn’t warned or penalized for this. Fans felt that the referee should have, at the very least, given Devin a warning.

Luckily for Ryan, the referee’s actions in the seventh didn’t cost him the fight. He knocked Haney down in rounds ten and eleven and won by the scores of 115-109, 114-110, and 112-112.

Ryan Calls It Like He Sees It

“I think the ref should’ve stopped the fight [in round seven]. He [Haney] was really hurt,” said Ryan after the contest.

“The guy [Haney] was holding me for dear life, and I felt the opportunity to keep swinging while my hands were free. I should’ve knocked him out in the seventh round. They stole that from me,” said Ryan.

Sometimes, a referee has to let the fighters fight without stepping in to micro-manage. Last night, Dock should have let Ryan slide with his hitting on the break.

Again, where the ref should have taken control is with Haney’s nonstop clinching, which saved his hide, allowing him to keep from getting knocked out in rounds seven through twelve when he was badly hurt. The referee’s failure to give Ryan credit for an additional three knockdowns in the seventh was also very troubling.

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