By Paul Magno | April 17, 2024

When it comes to Devin Haney, my thoughts on the kid have been all over the place. 

I’ve criticized his safety-first ring style and a mindset that, as I previously wrote, “sometimes trends towards a practical, but cynical ‘do just enough to win’ mindset that makes one doubt whether true greatness is in the cards for him.” 

I’ve also heaped praise on him as someone who’s handled his career impeccably these last few years, leaving money on the table to (successfully) gamble on himself prior to the Kambosos fights and then parlay those wins into smart career-growing bouts with Vasiliy Lomachenko and Regis Prograis.

I guess it boil down to a human being human. There’s some good, some not-so-good, and I judge accordingly. I know, that’s unheard of in this current boxing climate where you, apparently, have to “pick a side” and stay there, moving heaven and earth to justify why “your guy” is always in the right and the other guys are always in the wrong.

But I digress.

A friend was telling me the other day that he felt sorry for Haney, that what should be the most commercially successful bout of his career has been tarnished by Ryan Garcia’s nutso hijinks all throughout the lead-in to the April 20 event. “Devin deserves better,” he told me.

And, in that moment, I agreed with him.

Haney’s carried himself well for a young fighter in this generation of athletes with 24/7 direct access to saying stupid shit on social media. He’s also been reasonably mature and controlled when dealing with all of Garcia’s nonsense. Yeah, he deserves a more dignified commercial showcase fight where he’s not  sharing the stage with a guy calling him gay, saying he’s the devil, and otherwise acting like a shit-headed 14-year-old.

But then I thought about it.

Ryan Garcia with his new “Goofy Garcia” routine and all the attention he’s drawing to himself, is going to make Devin a lot of money, both in the present tense and down the line. 

I know that tickets sales have been slow, but that’s a function of poor planning-- like having a Vegas fighter and a So. Cal fighter competing on the other side of the country with tickets wildly overpriced. Plus, it didn’t help that Garcia was acting so bonkers that many questioned whether the fight would even happen. 

None of that is on Haney, though. And, ultimately, I don’t think any of that will affect pay-per-view numbers. 

I’m not expecting Tank Davis-Ryan Garcia numbers, but Haney-Garcia should do well by modern boxing pay-per-view standards. And, if we’re being honest here, much of that will come from Garcia.

No, all the bullshit about satanic ritual sexual abuse, abductions, sex predators, aliens, earthquake predictions etc. won’t drive any PPV buys. Neither will any of Ryan’s teen angst via social media. 

What all that stuff DOES do, however, is keep the event in the public eye. It also stokes the flame of those looking for another Haney coming out party and/or a Garcia comeuppance. The constant, multi-times-a-day reminder from Garcia that “this fight is coming up” is always a positive, even if it’s buried in an Easter basket of BS and general dumbness.

When/if Haney beats Garcia (it’s most likely a “when,” tbh), Devin will get some serious traction from this most unserious opponent. He’ll get a nice payday, too, plus pay-per-view negotiating leverage when it comes to his next big fight.

This stands to be a win-win for Haney-- unless, of course, Garcia manages to hurt him with one of his big, rocket-like left hands, which I still say remains one of boxing’s best one-shot weapons.

Then, I guess, the “Goofy Garcia” nonsense will go on for a while longer.  

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