It’s officially underway.

WBC super lightweight champion Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia came face-to-face in New York on Tuesday, formally kicking off the road to their April 20 fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

They will do it all over again in Los Angeles on Thursday, in the second leg of their two-city media tour as momentum for their fight starts to build. 

The press conference had several highlights, with Eddie Hearn, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Haney and Garcia all talking, along with their respective trainers, Bill Haney and Derrick James.

De La Hoya said Garcia was daring to be great, and in a bid to win over the New York fans following a message on X that went viral – with Garcia saying it was a west-coast fight – Garcia took to the mic and said: “Shout out NYC, what’s good?”

Then, discussing why it was the right time to meet his old amateur foe Haney, Garcia said: “It’s just a good opportunity for me. When I first came into the game, I just wanted to make a bunch of money and then I did that, but now I want to go for the legacy. I want to go for the belts. I’m on my vengeance arc. I’m ready to get back in blood and everything, so I’m coming straight for his neck, I promise you that. I promise, I’m coming straight for you. It’s going to be ugly.”

Then, he added: “Everyone thinks I’m hating on NYC, I’m not. I love NYC.”

Before leaving the dais, Garcia said: “Anyways, I’m going to beat the sh** out of him, I’m out.”

After both fighters took some questions, Bill Haney, also Devin’s father and manager, then asked Garcia whether if he was knocked out in the first round he would retire. 

“If I get knocked out in the first round, I’ll retire,” responded Garcia, standing up and shaking on it.

Earlier, Devin Haney – the champion – had pointed out that Garcia had instead wanted the bout in California, or on May 4 in Las Vegas, and said: “This is a great opportunity for me and my family; a great fight for the fans. We know Ryan doesn’t want the fight to be here [in New York]. Behind closed doors, he’s tripping at everybody to make the fight go to Vegas on a later date, but the fight has to happen here, at the Barclays, April 20, here in New York. It’s going to be a helluva event.”

Getting more “personal”, Haney then referred to Garcia’s lone professional loss, to Gervonta “Tank” Davis last April.

“We’ve seen Ryan quit before,” he added. “We’ve seen him take a knee before and quit, and on April 20 it won’t be no different.  

“At the end of the day, it’s personal now. It’s bigger than boxing; we’ve been rivals since we were nine-10-years-old and now it’s time to do the deal, when it counts, for everything on April 20.” 

Garcia’s coach, James, is a man of few words, but said he was excited by the challenge that awaited them.

His father brought him a long way,” James said, giving Haney his props. “I can’t wait to show everything we’ve been working on and show just how good and how much improvement Ryan is making constantly… Let’s get it, Ryan.” 

As expected, Bill Haney was not quite so reserved, and he started by bringing the fight location into play.

If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” he started. “That’s why we came.”

He then added a poem. 

“It doesn’t matter, the state or the place, 

“because Devin’s is going to beat up Ryan’s pretty little face. 

“And there’s going to be some men that are going to be happy, and there’s going to be some “girls that’s going to be cryin’,

“Cos’ by Round Five, down goes Ryan.”

There was plenty of activity on the main stage. Garcia and  Hopkins embraced and shook hands, with Garcia offering to put the past behind them, and Hopkins saying there was no beef to squash between them.

Then Bill Haney and Ryan’s father, Henry Garcia, go into it.

Hopkins, who 23 years earlier enjoyed the biggest night of his boxing life when defeating Felix Trinidad at Madison Square Garden, said: “This fight here in NYC, out of all places in the world, this is the Mecca city to fight. To me, this is the place you must come through to get the stamp of approval on your certificate of greatness.

“These two young fighters have got to understand that to be great, you’ve got to do great things.

“This is one of the fights that can go down in history… This fight has a superstar stamped on it.

“Ryan’s career starts with this fight here as far as I’m concerned.”