Devin Haney Deserves to Have Ryan Garcia Bout Viewed Through His Lens

There’s a double-sided truth to what happened in the Ryan Garcia-Devin Haney fight two months ago, and as both sides now move on – each without a belt, each saddled with criticism – one sentiment remains.

“We cannot unsee what we saw,” former welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter said on Tuesday’s episode of ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters,” which explored Haney’s shift to WBC “champion in recess” following his newly converted no-contest against Garcia.

That comment became especially relevant when DAZN reportedly rejected the request of Haney’s team to take down further replays of a fight that has been scratched from the record books.

In that bout, Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) appeared concussed by a series of Garcia power lefts to the head that knocked Haney down three times and paced Garcia to a majority decision upset victory that has since been overturned due to Garcia’s three positive pre-fight tests for the banned performance-enhancing substance ostarine.

And while Garcia, 25, has played up his in-ring success after missing weight by more than three pounds, Haney, also 25, has been left “physically, mentally and emotionally” unfit to immediately defend his belt against mandatory WBC challenger Sandor Martin of Spain.

So Monday, the WBC elevated unbeaten Dominican Republic fighter Alberto Puello to its new 140-pound belt holder, assigned him the title fight against Martin and left Haney to take a “champion in recess” layoff.

“What happened to [Haney] in New York is one of the greatest injustices I’ve seen in boxing,” WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told Boxing Scene. “Meeting a fighter who did not make weight, who played mind games and had performance-enhancing drugs in his system, Haney still fought like a warrior. He got knocked down three times, and while many others would’ve stayed on the canvas, he got up every time.”

And that’s the other edge of not unseeing the April 20 bout.

Porter and fellow “Deep Waters” analysts including Paulie Malignaggi and Hall of Fame commentator Teddy Atlas believe Haney’s courage that evening should be remembered.

“He still went 12 rounds against a guy on performance enhancers,” Porter said.

Atlas added, “We should be celebrating how miraculous it was that he survived with a guy who was overweight and on PEDs.”

Atlas and Malignaggi said the neglect of Haney versus the attention heaped on social media influencer Garcia reflects societal flaws.

“It’s not enough just to be a good fighter,” Atlas said. “[The public doesn’t] want a nice story. They want something crazy.”

Malignaggi stated that boxing should hold PED-positive fighters more accountable.

“There’s not enough punishment for PEDs,” Malignaggi said. “We have first-ballot Hall of Famers [who used]. There’s rewards [for use] and the perception that this doesn’t affect you.”

Considering the facts of the case – including the unattractive purse-bid offer of just over $1.6 million to fight the complicated Martin – Atlas said former undisputed lightweight champion Haney deserves time to heal and the opportunity to return and win, whether that comeback starts against a non-champion or up in the welterweight division.

“He was damaged – his ego, his psychology, his confidence,” Atlas said. “[Haney’s] not healthy. We have to take him at his word. He’s not right.”

Porter called the Garcia bout “the toughest loss” Haney will experience in the ring.

“What they painted him to be and what he had to live up to … it all came rushing in at the same time. So many things went wrong,” Porter said. “It’s too much to get past in a couple months.”

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