RYAN GARCIA shocked a lot of the boxing world, me included, last Saturday night (April 20).

Most thought he’d lose comfortably and maybe even get stopped by Devin Haney going on the pair’s previous performances. It was certainly Garcia’s biggest win of his career and one of his best displays. During the fight Garcia’s power was too much for Haney to deal with. Haney did outbox Garcia for periods, but when caught cleanly he couldn’t take the shots.

A big talking point going into the fight was Garcia’s inability to make the championship limit of 140lbs coming in three pounds over and costing himself a lot of money in the process. In my opinion and experience being three pounds heavier in the ring than your opponent is not a massive advantage. Come fight night it isn’t going to make much difference to the outcome of the contest. However, three pounds on the scales can be huge. Not because of the weight advantage but because of the possibility that the fighter who doesn’t make weight hasn’t pushed their body to the same extremes as his opponent, leaving much more in the tank come fight night.

It’s an unfortunate reality that most championship level boxers now cut around 10% of their bodyweight, sometime more, in the last 24 hours or so before the weigh-in and then replenish themselves back up by the time of the fight. Most fighters feel they have to do this in order to keep the playing field even, because if they don’t and compete at their natural bodyweight they will be going into the ring at a big disadvantage.

If done properly and as healthily as possible you can still perform to your best but it’s still a big stress on the body and can only be done so many times without negative effects, short and long term. Haney is well known for cutting large amounts of weight and coming into fights much heavier than his opponent, often described as a weight bully.

In my opinion Garcia’s team predicted that although Devin’s only recently moved up from 135lbs, he was already struggling at 140 and decided it was best not to deplete Ryan too much. They were banking on “King Ry” being fresher and stronger in the ring. Haney’s never been dropped before and being easier to hurt is a big sign of having a tough time doing the weight.

It may have been a dishonest strategy and will leave his future opponents wondering if he will make weight in the future, probably calling for even larger penalties than $500,000 per pound. But for this fight it worked. He won the fight even though the WBC title was no longer on the line, but in this day and age of multiple alphabet belts the win meant more than the belt.