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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: HANEY-PROGRAIS, CANELO-BENAVIDEZ, RYAN GARCIA

By Paul Magno | December 07, 2023
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: HANEY-PROGRAIS, CANELO-BENAVIDEZ, RYAN GARCIA

On Thursday’s, Fight Hype sets aside some of its video content for some good ol’ fashioned written word in the form of questions/comments from you to me. So, this week, let’s dig into some talk about Haney-Prograis, Canelo-Benavidez, and Ryan Garcia.

Haney vs. Prograis/Haney at 140 and 147

Hi Paul.

Devin Haney vs. Regis Prograis this Saturday is an important fight and an interesting fight, but it won’t be a good one. It’s going to be boring AF. We all know that. Even with all their talk hyping the fight and hyping their bad blood with one another, their styles won’t mix well and we’re going to see twelve rounds of Haney and Prograis ineffectively punching at air and not doing much else with Haney getting a decision because he touched Prograis just a little more than Prograis touched him. Am I off on my call here? How do you see things?

Also, what do you think of Haney at junior welter? Can he unify? Will he even want to unify with Matias and Teofimo also holding belts? And what about welterweight?

– P. Slaughter.

Hey P. 

Well, this definitely ain’t a matchup built for action. I guess the polite term for a pairing like this would be “tactical.” And that’s fine, by the way. Not every fight has to be Gatti-Ward. I enjoy a nice tactical contest between two solid pros and, as you said, it IS an important fight. But, yeah, just don’t try to sell me on the idea that this will be some kind of bloody grudge match. If it DOES turn out to be a war rather than a boxing match, things will go infinitely better for Prograis. As things stand (and are likely to continue standing on fight night), Haney will jab, grab, and move his way to a decent, but not awe-inspiring decision win. Prograis will just not be able to get to the right distance to make his game work. Being a southpaw will help, but not that much.  Haney’s focused talent, training, and youth will be the key determining factors.

I think Haney can do alright at 140. He might be wise to maybe stay away from aggressive guys with pop like Teofimo and Matias, but I think he matches well against anyone else at the top of the division. I don’t think he can do 147. His lack of power (or lack of willingness to invest in his own power) will keep him from the top, unless he can grab a paper title or two. A guy like Terence Crawford would devour Haney and, likely, so would Boots Ennis. 

The Realities of Canelo vs. Benavidez

Greetings Paul.

I am a firm believer that Canelo does in fact need to fight Benavidez to secure his legacy. As the previous writer Reggie mentioned [in last Thurswday’s Mail Sack], these last two fights have been a huge step up in competition and the man is not sitting around waiting. I also concur, Canelo could see his Mexican fanbase leave him for Benavidez. Benavidez has also done everything he has asked him to earn a shot. Here is how I feel.

1.  Why does Canelo care so much about possibly losing? Remember when De La Hoya rebounded with Mayorga? It sold. I feel like even if Canelo does lose, he has fights with Charlo, Munguia, a fight in Britain that are all built in rebound fights. I also believe that he is such a respected fighter and beloved, that he will receive almost no blowback on his legacy. He's already considered a blown up middleweight. How you lose matters, but not taking this fight has major implications to his legacy over losing. If he loses competitively, does it even really matter that much at this point? A Benavidez win means the world to Benavidez. However, a competitive non-KO loss to Benavidez is admirable in my opinion. 

2. I believe that the primary reason Canelo is not motivated for the Benavidez fight is purely financial. Benavidez from a sales perspective is not well known to the casual/non-hardcore fans. Although true boxing fans all want it, Canelo can command a similar purse in my opinion with little risk; in part the problem with boxing. Would it be wise to have Canelo fight someone such as Munguia/Charlo on Cinco De Mayo and put Benavidez as the co-feature and fight someone who is made to order but game such as Sergiy Derevyanchenko? Canelo likely smashes Munguia and looks ripe meanwhile Benavidez likely gets to beat the fuck out of Derevyanchenko in a fan-friendly TKO.

Thoughts? My main takeaway is the fight is ripe for guys like us. But is it ripe enough for the casual fan? Do casual fans need to let this marinate maybe one more beatdown from Benavidez to really make this the spectacle it should be?

Would appreciate your thoughts.

– Greg

Hey Greg.

I don’t know what’s inside the man’s head, but I think I get his reluctance in addressing the Benavidez challenge. I believe it’s not a fear as much as a stubbornness. He doesn’t want to be dictated to and he sees these calls about him having to fight so and so as a certain disrespect. 

Having said that, though, he’s a smart boxing guy and he’s also keenly aware of the difficulties around a particular matchup, especially as a fighter with 40+ million at stake for each fight. There’s also likely a conscious effort to get in some money fights before the money fight that could be problematic. He may be the same human being who embraced tough stylistic challenges against the likes of Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, but the circumstances of his life have changed. 

From a business perspective, it might make sense for Canelo to fight someone else next and then face Benavidez in the third fight of his 3-fight deal with PBC. From PBC’s side, this also makes sense as a loss or competitive battle could lead to him extending his deal with the company for the rematch. But, then again, a vengeance-minded Canelo is not necessarily a given as we saw with his snubbing of a rematch with Dmitry Bivol. Alvarez knows enough to not take a second venture into an unwinnable situation against an opponent who has his number, stylistically. Being two years older will make him even less likely to wade into turbulent waters. Again, he may be the same man, but the circumstances of his life have changed.

As for your second point.

For a good, long time, I was leaning towards your line of thought. But the harsh reality may be that, at this point, pretty much all boxing matches are solely playing to the boxing base and casual fans may no longer be much of a factor in the equation. One more fight to “build” interest may not matter when it comes to pay-per-view salability. What MAY matter most nowadays is appealing to the hardcore base and getting them motivated to make a purchase. Canelo-Benavidez would do just that. So, even though it makes business sense for Canelo (and PBC) to squeeze in a safer money fight before the Benavidez fight, doing so is probably not going to build towards any sales too far beyond what would be registered if the fight took place next.

Not-so-Super Ry

Hi Paul

Hope your December is going well so far. It seems Ryan Garcia is becoming a necessary evil. Before making my criticism, I am aware he would kick my ass easily if we fought, but I am a spectator and I am allowed to say he sucks big time, I can’t believe he is turning his back on his opponents at this stage. It is the first time that I have seen a fighter with so many eyes on him doing this (not even Jake Paul has done it).

The reason why I say he is a necessary evil is because at the end of the day he brings eyes to the sport and reminds us boxers are humans and have feelings. During the first couple rounds I thought he was indeed improving as he showed a flashy jab, nice right hands and uppercuts, then he started doing that ass/shoulder roll and then I thought he is just un-trainable.

Based on what I have seen from Rolly, it does not seem it will be the next fight. My assumption is he will continue being matched with Golden Boy fighters that can make him look good. Do you see him beating any title or ex-title holder at 140?

BTW, I changed my mind about Haney-Prograis. The fight will still suck but I think Prograis will land something that will send Haney to sleep.

Best regards.

– Miguel

Hey Miguel.

Yeah, there were some WTF stylistic moments in that Duarte fight. I’ve gone deep into why Ryan Garcia is who he is as a fighter (and I went back there a bit in Monday’s Notes from the Boxing Underground column). He’s still young enough to have a professional epiphany, but I seriously doubt he will. What Ryan needs to learn can only be learned through the type of single-minded focus in the gym that he hasn’t done and hasn’t shown any inclination of doing. He’s a star and a millionaire without boxing. There’s no burning urgency to learn the finest technical, tactical parts of the sport. And, unfortunately for him, it’s those fine details that often make the difference between a good fighter and a great fighter. 

He’ll have to be matched impeccably to keep him winning and drawing. His raw talent will help sustain him as a viable main stage fighter. His hand speed, alone, will give him a chance against almost anybody. I can see him beating Rolly for the WBA title. Remember, as much as we want to dump on him, he DOES already have KO/TKO wins over legit contenders Luke Campbell and Oscar Duarte and  he crushed former world champ Javier Fortuna. Those are solid wins. He’s chock full of flaws, mental and physical, but he’s no stumblebum fall guy. 

As for your switch-up on Haney-Prograis? I don’t know about that, but it would certainly make for an interesting night of fight watching. We shall see.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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