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Ryan Garcia Switches Tunes As He Backs Off Haney To Seek Fight With Rolly Romero

Ryan Garcia Switches Tunes As He Backs Off Haney To Seek Fight With Rolly Romero featured image
HOUSTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 02: Ryan Garcia celebrates defeating Oscar Duarte during their welterweight fight at Toyota Center on December 02, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Just barely two weeks after formally telling his team to start negotiations with Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia has pulled away from his own public-revealed decision to fight Haney and is now planning to fight the long-missing, supposedly injured and quasi-retired Rolando “Rolly” Romero. Garcia’s new plans seems to be an abrupt change of course given his interest in fighting Haney to now choose a semi-active Romero to fight against.

Last month, Ryan Garcia (24-1, 19 KO’s) expressed his interest to fight Devin Haney (31-0, 15 KO’s) and Oscar De La Hoya, Garcia’s promoter, also recently revealed that talks between the two fighters’ teams were underway without any complications.

However, these talks appear to have broken down for the time being as Garcia has now set his sights on Rolly Romero (15-1, 13 KO’s).

I’ve notified my team I’m going a different route,Garcia said on January 6th.

My intent now is to fight Rolando Romero. I pray my team backs me on this decision. Oscar [De La Hoya] make this fight happen. THATS THE MOVE. BIGGER FIGHT, BIGGER BUSINESS. #GarciaRomero.

Garcia also did not discount a fight with Haney in the future, remarking that he would be willing to engage with the WBC super lightweight champion after his match with Romero.

After what happens to Rollies, the Dev [Devin Haney] fight will be there and even bigger,” Garcia continued following the criticism that appeared after announcing he would switch targets.

Everyone critiquing now will end up seeing it was a better move. Plus, he [Haney] can go fight Richardson Hitchens. Go do your 30k PPV buys. I don’t need you, Dev, you need me.

Garcia’s sudden change of heart may be attributed to his recent exposure to Floyd Mayweather Jr. who has apparently been mentoring him in the past two weeks. Mayweather has also made absurd claims regarding Garcia’s status who he regards as one of three of the most marketable fighters on the planet, and may have planted the idea for Garcia to face Romero instead of Haney.

This influence seems to be reflected in Garcia’s own words who is now adopting a similar stance as other PBC fighters in telling Haney to fight a certain 140 lbs contender in Richardson Hitchins (17-0, 7 KO’s) rather than himself. As is well-known, Jermell Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KO’s) spouted similar things in regards to Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KO’s) when he had expressed interest in fighting Charlo.

As Mayweather is connected to the PBC, even though his formal role with the company has never been revealed, it appears that Mayweather is attempting to poach Garcia from Golden Boy Promotions―to whom Garcia is currently signed―and aims to do so by convincing Garcia to move to fight opponents of his choosing. Rolly Romero is currently a PBC fighter, and with Garcia’s contract rumored to run out this year, the Romero fight would be an attractive proposition to Garcia.

When comparing Romero’s ability and pedigree to Haney’s, Romero can be further be considered an easier opponent for Garcia, especially considering he has been injured for the past couple of months which would give Ryan Garcia an advantage if Romero would come off his injury to immediately fight Garcia rather than a tune-up opponent.

In aiming for Romero, Garcia appears to be following Mayweather’s own assertion of superstars and their ability to generate a lot of money. While Haney is regarded as a “high risk, high reward” fight, Romero would be “low risk, high reward” in comparison and would be perfectly suitable for Garcia to fight given a fight with him would likely involve the WBA super lightweight world title while also allowing him to net some great profits due to Romero’s own popularity which would draw plenty of interest towards their fight.

As Romero is currently the champion-in-recess, he is expected to fight for the full title against whoever he will fight next and his high-ranked enough. If fortune favors Garcia, he would both get a money-spinning fight against Romero and the opportunity to become a world champion.

There are also rumors indicating Garcia’s contract with Golden Boy Promotions is running out which may favor the chance of a Romero fight occurring. Though no details about Garcia’s contract with Golden Boy have been divulged publicly, long-term contracts between fighters and promotions typically occur for five years.

As Garcia signed his deal with Golden Boy in September of 2019, there is speculation that his contract might run out in September of this year. In that regard, a fight with Romero is feasible if the two fighters’ promotions can work out a bout contract. Following that fight, if Garcia would still be contracted to Golden Boy, he could still fight Haney―provided Haney continues to fight for DAZN until that point―in a blockbuster fight in the summer.

Afterwards, Garcia can simply wait out his contract before signing to PBC. It should be noted that all of the aforementioned is mere speculation as the full details surrounding Garcia’s contract with Golden Boy have not been revealed. However, there is enough that occurred the past few weeks to draw reasonable conclusions on what might happen in the (near) future.

Rolando Romero himself might be up for a fight with Ryan Garcia as he has reiterated this desire several times in the past, but Ismael Barroso’s (25-4-2, 23 KO’s) recent victory over Ohara Davies (25-3, 18 KO’s) to become the WBA interim super lightweight champion might complicate matters severely. It should also be noted that, like Garcia, Barroso is currently signed to Golden Boy and will not look kindly to being denied a rematch against Romero.

In this sense, it is also plausible Ryan Garcia faces Barroso in the near future for the WBA interim title, but given Barroso has recently proved himself to be a threat in the division, Garcia might simply endeavor for his team to “skip the line” so to speak to directly be matched with Romero.