Devin Haney respects Ryan Garcia’s ambition.
Haney realizes Luke Campbell is clearly the best boxer Garcia will have faced in 21 professional fights. The WBC world lightweight champion considers Campbell a “talented” fighter whose experience and ring generalship make him a credible foe for his 22-year-old rival.
The unbeaten Haney just doesn’t think Campbell has any shot at upsetting Garcia, who is regularly listed as a 3-1 favorite to win their 12-round fight for the WBC interim 135-pound crown. Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs), a southpaw from Hull, England, and Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs), of Victorville, California, will headline DAZN’s five-fight stream Saturday from American Airlines Center in Dallas (8 p.m. GMT; 3 p.m. EST).
“It’s a good fight,” Haney told FightHype.com during an interview posted to its YouTube page Wednesday. “I think Campbell has, you know, experience and, you know, he’s not a pushover. You cannot say that he’s a pushover. But, for some reason, I just see Ryan beating him fairly easy. No, I really do. I see that happening. A lot of people may disagree, but you know, I’ve been knowing Ryan for a while and I just feel like Ryan’s gonna beat him easy.”
Garcia has beaten the Philippines’ Romero Duno (22-2, 17 KOs) and Costa Rica’s Francisco Fonseca (27-3-2, 21 KOs) easily in each of his past two fights – both by first-round knockout.
The 33-year-old Campbell has not been knocked out since he made his pro debut in July 2013. Campbell has lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) and 12-round split decisions to Venezuela’s Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) and France’s Yvan Mendy (46-5-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC).
He avenged his loss to Mendy when he won their 12-round rematch by unanimous decision in September 2018 at Wembley Stadium in London.
When Haney examines Campbell’s resume, he can’t help but feel that the 2012 Olympic gold medalist has received too much praise for losing lightweight title fights to Lomachenko and Linares.
“He’s getting too much credit,” Haney said. “Every big fight that he’s stepped up to, he’s lost. Who has he beat? Who has he beat? Name somebody he beat. He gets credit for doing a good job, not getting beat that bad. … Look, little Lomachenko was hurting him the whole fight.”
Campbell will box for the first time Saturday since Lomachenko beat him 16 months ago in their fight for the WBA, WBC and WBO lightweight titles at O2 Arena in London. The Campbell-Garcia winner will move into position to challenge Las Vegas’ Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) for his WBC belt.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.