When the fight between WBC junior welterweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 31-0 (15) and Ryan Garcia 24-1 (20) was announced for Las Vegas, Nevada on April 20, there was no one happier than the challenger’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
The Golden Boy Promotions boss sees parallels with his own storied career that saw him take on some of the biggest names in the sport in the late 1990s and through to the 2000s, including Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Ike Quartey, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley, Arturo Gatti, Bernard Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I haven’t been this excited for a fight in quite a while, and this fight here has me excited, just the fact that they are both in their prime makes this special,” De La Hoya said of the Haney-Garcia matchup to The Ring.
“This is a great start to 2024. I am very proud of Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney. Ryan fought Tank [Davis], and now is fighting Haney. This could be the start of a major career for Ryan. And Devin Haney, fighting [Regis] Prograis, and now fighting Ryan, it brings back great memories of mine from the 1990s and early-2000s when fighters fought each other.
“The best fought the best. Hopefully, we are on to something. Hopefully we can start a trend here and April 20 will be the beginning.
“We are working on a venue. This fight was not tough to make. A lot of details were involved and did take hours and hours and days, and we finally ironed everything out. Everyone is happy. The response from social media and from the fans has been incredible.”
De La Hoya has had what can best be described as a turbulent relationship with Garcia, who has been quick to point the finger of blame at his promoter when he doesn’t get his own way.
As things stand at the moment, the 25-year-old from Los Angeles should be thanking him for landing his first real world title shot and a hefty payday to go with it.
De La Hoya certainly thinks he has done his bit and now it’s all up to Garcia to repay his promoter’s faith in him.
“I do now have to make an argument here that Ryan is on the verge of becoming that fighter who takes on all challengers,” De La Hoya said.
“He took on Tank. Then he took on [Oscar] Duarte, who was not a walk in the park after a loss, and now he is coming right back fighting one of the best fighters on the planet.
“That, right there, is very admirable. Like I said before, I am very, very proud of him. Ryan has held smaller belt and this will be the first chance to win a major title.”