De La Hoya, Hopkins Foresee Garcia PPV Surpassing Canelo Again

Boxing Scene

Former stablemates Ryan Garcia and Canelo Alvarez are expected to stage near back-to-back pay-per-view headline appearances, with Garcia going April 20 against 140-pound world champion Devin Haney and Alvarez following Cinco de Mayo weekend against an opponent yet to be named.

This sequence could affirm a torch-passing moment for Garcia. Not only is he fighting to become a world champion for the first time, he’s poised to wrest away the mantle as the sport’s new pay-per-view king from Alvarez.

A year ago, Southern California’s Garcia, 25, parlayed his immense social-media popularity to draw 1.2 pay-per-view buys for his fight against unbeaten Gervonta “Tank” Davis while Alvarez, 33, reportedly failed to reach a combined 1 million buys in two lackluster bouts against John Ryder and Jermell Charlo.

Garcia’s promoter and Alvarez’s former mentor/promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, foresees another pay-per-view rout by Garcia coming, especially if Alvarez opts to choose Brooklyn’s unbeaten power puncher Edgar Berlanga over the De La Hoya-promoted Jaime Munguia, the unbeaten former 154-pound champion from Tijuana.

“It all depends on who (Canelo) fights,” De La Hoya told BoxingScene after Garcia and Haney staged a volatile news conference at Hollywood’s Avalon Theater.

De La Hoya was resolute in assuring Garcia-Haney will surpass one million buys, and he assessed that, “If Canelo chooses Munguia, it goes well over a million homes,” as well.

But amid the reports that Alvarez wants to meet Berlanga first, that’s a different matter.

“If Canelo chooses Berlanga, it will not crack 500,000 (buys),” De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya’s opinion is based on the fact Berlanga (22-0, 17 KOs) has yet to attract the type of success or acclaim for a participant expecting to generate a one-million-plus-buys event. His most noteworthy feat – 16 first-round knockouts in his first 16 bouts – was capped inside a fan-less venue, the pandemic-era Las Vegas “Bubble.”

Munguia, meanwhile, has gained a world title and repeatedly defended it in several main events.

He additionally offers a renewal of the rivalry between Mexican fighters residing near the U.S. border and those from the heart of the country, with the bitter Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera trilogy standing as Example A. 

Amid the speculation of Alvarez-Berlanga in May, De La Hoya’s promotional partner Bernard Hopkins, the former long-reigning middleweight champion, told BoxingScene that as of Thursday, Alvarez’s May choice “won’t be” Munguia. 

“As a matter of fact, I think (Garcia-Haney) will (outsell Canelo’s fight) because who’s Canelo fighting?” Hopkins said.

“I think Ryan Garcia-Devin Haney wins because of the fireworks, the history between the two (with six amateur meetings split with three victories apiece) and the speculation over whether Ryan can win the biggest fight of his career.”

Garcia’s erratic recent behavior, as he was seen smoking a marijuana joint, then telling Haney at Thursday’s news conference that he drinks alcohol and smokes weed, has further stirred intrigue.

“I must say, the shenanigans don’t hurt at all,” Hopkins said. “This fight has a lot of characteristics to it, a lot of drama, and it ain’t play and it ain’t fake.

“It’s real that Ryan’s going through something. It’s real that Devin Haney believes – and is confident – that he’s the best in that division and deserves respect based on his accomplishments. This is a tug-of-war to see who can really be the man they say they are come April 20.”

And while Alvarez has balked at meeting David Benavidez, the best opponent he could select in the super-middleweight division where he reigns as undisputed champion, De La Hoya sees the contrast with Garcia’s mentality as stark.

“I believe Ryan wants to be great deep down inside. I really think that,” De La Hoya said. “He wouldn’t be taking these fights, like ‘Tank’ and Haney … he’s the only one doing it. Tank’s not doing it. Teofimo (Lopez)? Sheesh. I’d love to have a round-robin tournament, and at the end of the day, we’ll see who the top 140-pound fighter is. That’s how you create superstars. That’s my plan.”

Should Garcia defeat Haney April 20, the plan is in full effect.

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