By: Hans Themistode
At this point, Eddie Hearn is becoming more and more confused by what’s taking place.
The long-time promoter has attempted to lure one of the big names at 135 pounds into the ring against WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney. Yet, no matter how hard he tries, he’s been unable to do so.
Even with the WBC sanctioning body ordering several highly rated contenders to fight in title eliminators for the right to take on Haney, no one has taken the bait.
“It baffles me that all these guys keep fighting final eliminators for Devin Haney but never actually want to fight him,” said Hearn on the Ak and Barak Show. “JoJo Diaz, you are mandatory for Devin Haney. Don’t you want to fight for the world title?”
Garcia, 22, did in fact, face former Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in January earlier this year with the WBC interim title on the line. The California native peeled himself up off the deck in the second round to score a stoppage win in the seventh. With the victory, Garcia was immediately installed as the mandatory challenger to Haney.
While Garcia could have opted to then face him, he was set to take on former multiple division champion Javier Fortuna instead. Although all systems appeared to be a go, Garcia removed himself from their showdown and temporarily walked away from the sport, citing mental health issues.
Stepping in for Garcia on short notice was Joseph Diaz. The former 130-pound titlist then went on to outwork Fortuna over the course of 12 rounds. His victory netted him the WBC interim tag as he supplanted Garcia as the mandatory challenger to Haney’s title. While Diaz has claimed that he would love to step into the ring with the WBC belt holder, he’s also been in the runnings for a showdown against Garcia.
Although nothing is set in stone, in the opinion of Hearn, he simply doesn’t see a scenario where Diaz steps up to the plate and faces Haney.
“I think that JoJo Diaz will give up his mandatory position and I think he will fight Ryan Garcia. If not, I’m more than happy to make Devin Haney against JoJo Diaz.”
After spending most of his career listening to the criticism surrounding his resume, Haney picked up the biggest win of his career, outpointing former multiple division champion, Jorge Linares in his latest trip to the ring. In spite of the high-profile victory, Hearn craves even bigger opportunities for the 22-year-old.
Considering the star power of Garcia, Hearn believes that a matchup between the pair would create massive revenue and pique the interest of millions across the world. But while he would love nothing more than to present Haney a contract with the signature of Garcia attached to it, the long-time promoter just doesn’t see it happening at the moment.
In short, no matter the amount of hubris Garcia displays when discussing a matchup with Haney, Hearn believes it’s nothing more than a charade.
“I never believe that fighters don’t want to fight other fighters because they’re incredibly brave. They’re warriors but I still struggle to see why Ryan Garcia doesn’t want to fight Devin Haney, especially when he fought an eliminator to fight him. Devin Haney is obviously very, very good. Let’s be honest, if Ryan Garcia’s team and himself truly believed that they would beat Devin Haney, why wouldn’t they fight him?”
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