Promoter Eddie Hearn has confessed he is mystified that Ryan Garcia didn’t pursue a showdown with WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, having halted Luke Campbell in a January eliminator for the right to fight for that title.
The ultra-marketable Garcia had numerous options, of course, but instead of selecting mooted opponents Haney, WBA ‘Regular’ champion Gervonta Davis or even Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, opted for a clash against highly-ranked Dominican contender and former 130lbs world champion Javier Fortuna.
Haney will now defend against three-weight champion Jorge Linares in Las Vegas on May 29 with Garcia’s clash with Fortuna pencilled in for July. Hearn still hopes that victories for both men will seal a Haney-Garcia bout later in 2021.
“Devin is still a bit baffled why Ryan won’t fight him. But we move on. And I’m glad that we managed to pull a big fight out for Devin, because he does need it,” Hearn told ‘The Ak & Barak Show’, which streams on SiriusXM and DAZN.
“It’s just frustrating because Ryan Garcia is a great fighter. But he keeps talking about all these other challenges, when there’s one right in front of him. The Luke Campbell fight was a dangerous fight for him. But I thought that he took that fight because he was going to get a shot at the world title against Devin Haney if he won. But then when he did win, he didn’t want to fight Devin Haney.
“I still feel like if you fight a fight to become mandatory, like he did against Luke Campbell, you should fight the champion. I mean, that’s the whole reason you enter a final eliminator. There’s no other reason to fight a final eliminator, without wanting to fight the champion. Ryan Garcia refused to fight Devin Haney, so we then applied to fight Jorge Linares, and then they made Ryan Garcia fight Fortuna.
“No problem, two great fights, as long as we get the fight we want at the end of it. But it kind of skirts around the fact that most media and everybody refuses to mention, the fact that Ryan Garcia has refused to fight Devin Haney and he was his mandatory.”