Garcia: NYSAC wants prefight mental health check

Boxing

Star boxer Ryan Garcia said Friday that the New York State Athletic Commission wants him to undergo a mental-health evaluation ahead of his April 20 WBC junior welterweight title fight against Devin Haney in Brooklyn.

In a since-deleted video posted to social media, Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) said the commission informed him the evaluation request surrounded his posts on social media.

“Is it not my U.S. constitutional right to have free speech?” Garcia said in the video. “So because I’m tweeting what I’m tweeting, that’s premises for a mental evaluation? That’s curious.”

Garcia has made a litany of eyebrow-raising social-media posts over the past few weeks, ranging from conspiracy theories to claims he has evidence of the existence of extraterrestrials.

Matthew Delaglio, director of boxing for the commission, declined to comment.

“As is the case with all Golden Boy fights, we are in close contact with the commission and sanctioning bodies and will of course follow any and all rules and regulations to ensure our fighters are ready on fight night,” Golden Boy Promotions spokesman Stefan Friedman told ESPN.

Hall of Fame boxer Oscar De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy, is Garcia’s promoter.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said Friday that he is “in direct talks with the New York Commission” regarding Garcia.

Garcia suffered his first professional defeat last April when he was stopped in Round 7 by Gervonta Davis. The super fight produced more than 1 million pay-per-view buys, a rare feat for a boxing event.

Garcia rebounded with an eighth-round knockout victory over Oscar Duarte in December. The fight was Garcia’s first with trainer Derrick James. Garcia has been conducting training camp with James in Dallas ahead of the 140-pound title challenge of Haney.

Haney (31-0, 15 KOs), 25, is ESPN’s No. 1 junior welterweight and No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer. He won the WBC title in December with a shutout decision win over Regis Prograis.

Garcia is ESPN’s No. 8 boxer at 140 pounds. He has more than 10 million Instagram followers and is aiming for his first world title against Haney.

In the summer of 2021, Garcia withdrew from a bout with Javier Fortuna to “manage my health and wellbeing.”

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