When Devin Haney opted to turn professional before the age of 18, he was forced to look outside the boundaries of the U.S. for initial challenges in the ring. After putting in his time as a highly regarded amateur, Haney, a San Francisco native, traveled to Mexico to fight in bars and small venues to quickly lift his record and fast-track his career onto the big stage.

He has most certainly arrived.

On Saturday, April 20, Haney will put his junior welterweight title on the line against Ryan Garcia in a blockbuster headline fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) took a hard route, and along the way his father and trainer Bill was Devin’s biggest advocate. Rather than paying to bring in fighters from Mexico, the Haneys traveled to Mexico to sharpen Devin’s skills and psyche with tough developmental opposition and gritty, hostile venues.

Coincidentally, Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) also turned pro in Mexico, before landing his Golden Boy Promotions contract.

In the second episode of DAZN’s pre-fight promotional series “40 Days,” the Haneys reflected on Devin’s spartan beginnings.

“He was 16, and we took a non-traditional route, and go down to Tijuana and turn pro,” Bill Haney said of his son. “There had never been an African-American kid who was a standout amateur to go and take that route.”

While Devin Haney’s peers were fighting on undercards of major fight cards, he was investing in himself and building his name and brand in less-than-ideal circumstances.

“I was fighting in bars, my dressing room was a janitor-type closest,” Devin said. “Everyone was booing me – they don’t know who I was, but they knew I was American.”

Over time, Bill Haney has come to be regarded as boxing’s answer to Earl Woods. It was Earl who raised young Tiger Woods to be a golfer through and through, proclaiming the greatness of his son and all but willing the boy to fulfill every inch of his potential along the way. That, too, has been roughly the story of Bill and Devin Haney thus far.

“What do you want to do with this sport? How far do you want to take it?” Bill said he asked his son. “He said, ‘Dad, I want to go all the way. I want to be mentioned with the greats.’”

The fighter credits some of his throwback mentality and legacy-orientated approach to his Tijuana “roots.” Sometimes Devin would fight an opponent who had been swapped in at the last minute, or face difficult adversaries with little to no footage available for review. Today, he is a two-division world titleholder.

“It is no accident why I am here,” the fighter said.