Ryan Garcia’s conduct leading up to his match against Devin Haney appeared so unpredictable that some individuals thought he shouldn’t be permitted to compete at all.

Just imagine the spectacle they might have missed.

Garcia put Haney on the canvas three times and inflicted the first defeat on the WBC super lightweight champion, emerging victorious in the bout through majority decision on Saturday night, albeit not capturing the title due to exceeding the weight limit.

Garcia’s peculiar behaviors in public and on social media during the buildup raised doubts about his commitment to this fight. It truly seemed like he hadn’t dedicated enough time to training when he weighed over 3 pounds above the 140-pound limit on Friday.

However, the speed and power in his fists proved too much for Haney, who was in trouble right from the initial round and went down in the seventh, 10th, and 11th.

“Come on folks, did you truly think I was out of my mind?” Garcia hollered at the spectators during his post-fight interview in the ring.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) secured victory with scores of 115-109 and 114-110 on two judges’ scorecards, while the third judge scored it a draw at 112-112.

Ryan Garcia knocks down Devin Haney in massive upset Getty Images

The Associated Press scored it 114-110 in favor of Garcia.

The 25-year-old pugilists from California had six encounters as amateurs, with Haney enjoying a more successful professional career, clinching the undisputed lightweight title and subsequently claiming the WBC belt in his debut at 140 pounds.

Although Garcia couldn’t seize the title, he did shatter Haney’s unblemished record. Haney now stands at 31-1.

Haney had appeared to cement his status among the elite fighters worldwide, while crucial questions arose about whether Garcia was overhyped. Garcia suffered defeat against Gervonta Davis in his major fight last year, leading to the anticipation that history would repeat itself, despite his assertions that he was prepared for the battle, even though it seemed like he spent more time online than in the gym.

Garcia elucidated that he requires his evenings out and time for his other passions to overcome personal dilemmas, such as a divorce.

“I did what I believed was necessary to cope,” Garcia explained.

He surpassed mere contentment. He outshone one of the premier pugilists globally.

He rocked Haney with a potent left hook in the opening round, and although Haney regained his footing and seemed to dominate the middle rounds, Garcia’s strength surfaced again in the seventh.

“He nabbed me early when I was off guard,” Haney remarked regarding the initial round’s hook. “He caught me by surprise.”

Ryan Garcia celebrates his win over Devin Haney Getty Images

A direct left paved the way for the initial knockdown, and Haney struggled to regain his composure for the remainder of the round. He went down twice more within the round, albeit neither was deemed a knockdown by the referee, who also deducted a point from Garcia for hitting during a break.

Nonetheless, the undeniable knockdowns in the 10th and 11th rounds sealed the victory, enabling Garcia to spend the majority of the 12th round taunting the champion.

From the onset, Garcia’s enthusiasm for the fight was ambiguous, as he advocated for the match to be held in Las Vegas even after it had been confirmed for Brooklyn.

On Friday, it morphed into a non-title bout when Garcia tipped the scales at 143.2 pounds, surpassing the super lightweight limit by 3.2 pounds. He exhibited no signs of concern, dispatching social media posts asserting that the extra weight would bolster him, and subsequently appearing to consume what seemed like a bottle of beer on the scale during the public ceremonial weigh-in held later in the day.

Ryan Garcia was a significant underdog AP

Yet, he radiated the form of a rapidly rising sensation reminiscent of his earlier career, with the crowd chanting his name as he began to dominate the latter rounds.

Garcia declared his intention to transition to the 147-pound division, citing incapacity to reach the 140-pound limit.