Ryan Garcia knocks Devin Haney down 3 times and hands his amateur rival his first pro loss

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NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Garcia’s behavior leading up to his bout against Devin Haney seemed so erratic that some people thought he shouldn’t be allowed to fight at all.

Think of the performance they would have missed.

Garcia knocked Haney down three times and handed the WBC super lightweight champion his first loss, winning the fight by majority decision Saturday night but not the title because he was over the weight limit.

Garcia’s odd actions in public and on social media throughout the buildup led to questions about how serious he was about this fight. It sure seemed as though he didn’t devote enough time for training when he was more than 3 pounds above the 140-pound limit on Friday.

But the speed and power in his hands was too much for Haney, who was hurt right from the opening round and went down in the seventh, 10th and 11th.

“Come on guys, you really thought I was crazy?” Garcia screamed to the fans during his post-fight interview in the ring.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) won by scores of 115-109 and 114-110 on two of the judges’ cards, while the third had it 112-112.

The Associated Press scored it 114-110 for Garcia.

The 25-year-olds from California split six fights as amateurs, but Haney had the stronger pro career, winning the undisputed lightweight title and then moving up to win the WBC belt in his first fight at 140 pounds.

Garcia couldn’t take that, but he took Haney’s perfect record. Haney fell to 31-1.

Haney had seemingly taken his place among the best fighters in the world, while it became easy to wonder if Garcia was overhyped. Garcia was stopped by Gervonta Davis last year in his biggest fight and expectations were he was going down again, even as he insisted he was ready to fight despite the appearance that he spent more time on the internet than in the gym.

Garcia explained that he needs his nights out and time for his other interests to help get past problems in his personal life, such as a divorce.

“I did what I thought I needed to do to feel OK,” Garcia said.

He was better than OK. He was better than one of the best fighters in the world.

He wobbled Haney with a big left hook in the opening round, and though Haney steadied himself and appeared to winning the middle rounds, Garcia’s power showed up again in the seventh.

“He caught me early when I was sleeping on it,” Haney said of the first-round hook. “He caught me by surprise.”

A straight left set up the first knockdown and Haney struggled to regain his balance the rest of the round. He went down twice more in the round, but neither was ruled a knockdown by the referee, who also took a point from Garcia in the round for hitting on the break.

No matter. There was no denying the knockdowns in the 10th and 11th, and Garcia was able to spend most of the 12th taunting the champion.

It had been unclear from the start how enthused Garcia was for the fight, which he was lobbying to be held in Las Vegas even after it had already been announced for Brooklyn.

It became a non-title bout Friday when Garcia weighed in at 143.2 pounds, 3.2 above the super lightweight limit. He didn’t seem bothered, firing off social media posts saying the extra weight would make him stronger, then drinking what appeared to be a bottle of beer on the scale during the ceremonial public weigh-in later in the afternoon.

But he looked like the fast-rising sensation of earlier in his career, the crowd chanting his name as he began to dominate the latter rounds.

Garcia said he would look to move up to 147 pounds, saying he is unable to get to the 140-pound limit.

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AP boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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