Thursday, April 18

A fight week that started with one parent issuing a death threat to a fighter in front of that fighter’s parents reached a new low on Thursday afternoon.

“Welcome everybody to the event of the year,” Oscar De La Hoya, speaking with the enthusiasm of a corpse in a waiting room, started the final press conference. “There’s something about New York that just hits different.”  

DAZN’s Alfie Sharman was equally flat when came his turn, but as the successor to the unprecedentedly self-important Joe Markowski it remains refreshing every time it is he, and not the shameless reinventor-of-wheels Markowski, who speaks.

Perhaps they were dreading Ryan Garcia’s latest appearance. Perhaps they believed that with Bill Haney – wearing a tuxedo, sporting a Mexican flag over his shoulders and an American flag in each hand – dressed exactly like Don King that the father, trainer and manager of the champion was ready to outsell them all.

If they did, they didn’t anticipate the efforts of Chris Mannix, also of DAZN. “Nobody saw the talent of Devin Haney earlier than Eddie Hearn,” Mannix said. 

Surely he knows that that isn’t true? By the count of BoxingScene, Haney’s 15th professional fight was the last of 10 that took place in Mexico, at a time when Hearn – and every other equally influential promoter – was nowhere to be seen. The last of those 15 fights was in 2015; Haney’s debut on DAZN, overseen by Hearn, came four years later. All along, Bill Haney has also been open about none other than Derrick Harmon spotting his son’s talents when he was only eight years old. If DAZN want to continue to call themselves the “home of boxing”, that’s exactly the nature of statement they need to not get so wrong.

Eddie Hearn had already regrettably described Devin Haney as a “credit to the WBC”, and De La Hoya unveiled “commemorative” leather jackets as tacky as those King would once have relished wearing, when Garcia – the challenger on Saturday to Haney’s WBC super lightweight title in Brooklyn, New York – took to the microphone at the top table.

The deterioration of his mental health is a concern to many – even if it apparently isn’t to those around Saturday’s fight – so the cheerleader (one of the many) among the Haneys’ entourage knew what he was doing when he interrupted Garcia speaking to shout something about his mother Lisa. 

BoxingScene was already wondering what that cheerleader, and the many others around him, would have been doing on a Thursday afternoon had they not had a press conference at which to shamelessly express their sycophantic responsibilities when Garcia responded: “Where is your mum at? I’m gonna flirt with your mumma.

“She fine as f***. I want your mum now. Your mum is probably in my DMs. F*** you motherf*****, don’t talk about my mum.

“I will f*** you up, that fear is coming in your mouth like a b****.

“I put my d*** in your mouth, you b****. Pause no diddy.”

What “pause no diddy” means remains unclear, but a year on from Garcia’s role as the boy next-door in the build-up to his fight with the menacing Gervonta “Tank” Davis, it was the latest demonstration that his restless, distracted and hyperactive mind should not be preparing for a high-profile fight.

“There is something wrong with this motherf*****,” said Devin Haney – who of the Haneys consistently speaks with the most reason – in response. Unfortunately for Garcia he is perhaps the only one central to Saturday’s fight who’s willing to acknowledge or say it.