Devin Haney dismissed Ryan Garcia as a fighter who hasn’t improved since their days as amateurs.

They fight for the first time as professionals on April 20 at the Barclays Center in New York, for Haney’s WBC super lightweight title.

Yet their upcoming contest will represent the seventh between them, after they each won three of their six amateur fights.

Haney, 25, recorded his finest victories in 2023 – over Vasyl Lomachenko to retain his undisputed lightweight title, and then dethroning Regis Prograis at 140 pounds. 

Garcia, also 25, ended his year by stopping Oscar Duarte Jurado in eight rounds, but previously lost for the first time, in seven rounds to Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

“Ryan’s always been a good fighter, since we were kids,” Haney told DAZN. “But over time I’ve grown past him and gotten a lot better, and Ryan’s stayed the same. That’s for me to show on April 20. 

“Henry, his dad, is going to be there, too, so we’ll see who stops it. I think his dad will be the one throwing in the towel and stopping the fight.

“After the last fight, I said I’d done the legacy fights, I got the belts. I did that and I’m in the history books forever. Now it’s about making the biggest fights happen for the most amount of money, and making big events. It’s going to be the biggest fight of 2024. 

“It’s going to be a mega-event,” Haney continued. “It’s going to catapult me. It’s going to prove that I’m the new face of boxing. I am the man, and I’m a huge draw.

“It’s been a long time coming. We’re 3-3 in the amateurs, and this is No. 7. So this is time to seal the deal to prove who’s the better man, who’s gotten better since the amateurs, who’s developing into the pros better. It’s time for me to show how great I really am.”

Garcia was accused of quitting in the seventh round of his fight with Davis, as a consequence of the body punch the explosive Davis threw. Garcia then replaced his trainer, Joe Goossen, with Derrick James.

“We’ve seen Ryan quit before,” Haney said. “This won’t be anything different. Once you have that quit in you … I think he’ll quit on April 20.

“We’re two young guys that started our pro career in Mexico. We got off to an early start and now we’re two huge stars in the sport of boxing, and we’re about to put on a huge event for boxing. I’m happy to be one of the guys to inspire the younger generation, especially with Ryan, being so young.

“We could be labeled as prospects, because we’re that young. There’s prospects that are our age. I’m a champion; Ryan Garcia’s looking to become a champion, which he won’t. I’m happy to be that guy that the younger generation can learn from and look forward to. Experience matters, especially at that high level. Ryan does not have that experience. Ryan has not fought the guys that I’ve fought.”