By Elliot Worsell

RATHER oddly, no sooner had a venue been announced for the big super-lightweight fight between Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia than one of its participants, Ryan Garcia, tried doing all he could to move the fight somewhere else.

Taking to social media on Friday (February 23), Garcia wrote: “This is a MGM Vegas fight, doing everything we can to bring this to Vegas and giving this fight what it deserves!!!

“This decision has nothing to do with NYC but everything to do with business and what I believe is the best move for my career.”

Unlikely to be successful in this mission, common sense will no doubt prevail and Garcia will come to realise that when a venue is announced for a fight it is usually because a venue has been booked and a contract has been signed. It is then extremely difficult for a contract to be broken in order for one of the boxers to get exactly what they want.

We knew already of course the fight would take place on April 20, but it wasn’t until last week that we were told Haney vs. Garcia would end up at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as opposed to Las Vegas, where most tend to land if Middle East money isn’t involved. That, for some, came as a surprise, though presumably a pleasant one given the dearth of big fights in New York of late. Indeed, with so many of them ending up either in Las Vegas or in Saudi Arabia, the idea of a big one landing in New York for a change is rather refreshing and encouraging.

George Kambosos vs Devin Haney

Devin Haney (Getty Images)

It’s not without its history, either, the Barclays Center. It has not been around long, granted, but ever since hosting the super-lightweight title rematch between Danny Garcia and Erik Morales in 2012 the venue has staged numerous big-name fights and meaningful fights over the years.

It has, for example, given us four of Deontay Wilder’s best and scariest knockouts: the first against Artur Szpilka in 2016, the second against Luis Ortiz in 2018, the third against Dominic Breazeale in 2019, and the fourth against Robert Helenius in 2022. Interestingly, too, the Szpilka fight, paired with a bout between Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov on the same bill that night, represented the first heavyweight title fights in Brooklyn since James Jeffries knocked out James Corbett in the 23rd round on May 11, 1900, on Coney Island.

deontay wilder

Wilder stops Breazeale in a round

Since then there have been others of course. We have also seen certain boxers make the Barclays Center their second home, including Danny Jacobs, who boxed there multiple times between 2013 and 2018, beating the likes of Jarrod Fletcher, Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin and Maciej Sulecki along the way. Then there are the Charlo twins, Jermall and Jermell, who have often appeared in fights in Brooklyn, and Gervonta Davis, who won his first world title in Brooklyn in 2017 – stopping Jose Pedraza inside seven rounds to claim an IBF super-featherweight belt – and more recently cut Rolando Romero down to size at the Barclays Center in defence of his WBA lightweight belt.

All things considered, then, Brooklyn isn’t the worst place in the world for a fight like Haney vs. Garcia to end up, regardless of what Ryan Garcia may ideally want or indeed want you to believe. In fact, for a sport that has become a little stale and predictable in recent times, particularly where the placing of big fights is concerned, a night in Brooklyn could be the palate cleanser it needs. If nothing else, the choice of location delivers a big fight to a city desperate to see one live and it also keeps Haney and Garcia well away from Las Vegas at a time when Canelo Alvarez, the darling of Sin City, will be gearing up for his annual appearance on Cinco de Mayo weekend. In other words, if, as implied, Garcia is worried about “business” and making the “best move” for his young career, it may serve him well to know – and accept – his current place in the pecking order.