Oscar De La Hoya insists that Ryan Garcia’s fight with Devin Haney is already on course to prove bigger than the bout between Garcia and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

The first press conference for the Haney-Garcia fight – set for April 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York – was staged in New York on Tuesday. The fighters came together again on Thursday in Los Angeles, just as Garcia and Davis had for what proved to be the biggest fight of 2023, a seventh-round knockout win for Davis.

Despite it being the year in which Terence Crawford finally fought Errol Spence, Davis-Garcia was an even greater commercial success. The 1.2 million-plus pay-per-view buys generated over $100 million, and the gate of $22.8 million was the fifth-largest in the history of Las Vegas.

Haney, 25, has yet to demonstrate the crossover appeal that contributed to Davis-Garcia being billed as the fight to determine “the new face of boxing.” But De La Hoya, Garcia’s promoter (and another figure involved in some of Vegas’ highest-grossing fights) is optimistic about an even greater success.

“New York was crazy,” De La Hoya said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I can tell you that the press conference in New York was way bigger than Tank and Ryan. Way bigger. It was crazy.

“They’re hardcore [fight fans]. If you’re talking too much – ‘Get the hell out of the stage.’ It was cool.”

Between Garcia’s loss to Davis and his stoppage of Oscar Duarte Jurado, De La Hoya’s relationship with his fighter grew increasingly strained. But the promoter said that it is being repaired.

“We had dinner, and we were talking just about how he started, where he’s at, where he can finish,” De La Hoya said. “I told him, ‘If you want any advice, whether it’s the good or the bad, I have the answers. Come to me whenever you want, I’m here for you guys.’ And he appreciated that.

“I’ve been through the lows and I’ve been through the highs and everything in between. It’s important that these fighters understand that I’m here for them, and that’s the difference with any other promoter. Me and [Bernard] Hopkins have been through this many, many times. We’ve been through the whole family drama, the pressure from the fans, the pressure from the fighters calling you out.

“There’s something different that me and Ryan have experienced,” De La Hoya said. “Ryan’s in that elite level, where he’s a good-looking fighter. Not too many of us are around, believe me. Maybe just two – me and Ryan. So it’s an added pressure, it’s an elite level. Yes, you’re a good fighter. Yes, you can train hard. Yes, you can win world titles and a lot of money. ‘Wait, but he’s good looking. Let me throw rocks at him because he’s good looking’. It’s a whole different mentality. I used it to train harder. I used it to kick your ass inside the ring. 

“That’s exactly what I told him at our dinner meeting: ‘You have to perform. At the end of the day, you have to win fights and you have to win titles.’ 

“He’s a pressure fighter,” De La Hoya said of Garcia. “He’s a guy who understands, who knows how to put on a show. If Haney brings it and Ryan brings it, we’re going to have a war. We’re going to have an exciting fight.”