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Boxing news, rumors: Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia set, David Benavidez moves up among top stories in February

February was not the biggest month for the sport of boxing, especially after the calendar took a massive hit when Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk was delayed from Feb. 17 to May 18 after Fury suffered a cut in training camp. Despite the lack of big fight action in the ring, plenty of big stories emerged that will shape the coming months — and even years — for the sport.

February turned into a big month for news for many of the biggest stars, including Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney and Gervonta “Tank” Davis.

Let’s take a quick look back through the month at all the biggest developments in boxing.

Fury vs. Usyk postponed to May 18

February got off to a bad start with the news of Fury’s cut. On Feb. 2, news broke that Fury was sparring in training camp just weeks out from the fight when he suffered a deep cut over his right eye. The cut was in the same spot where Fury suffered a cut during his September 2019 fight with Otto Wallin. Against Wallin, that cut nearly resulted in a doctor’s stoppage, which would have handed Fury the first defeat of his professional career.

The fight with Usyk, which will crown the first undisputed heavyweight champion of boxing’s four-belt era, is set to be a massive event in Saudi Arabia. While Usyk initially seemed willing to keep the date and face IBF mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic, that idea was ultimately squashed and the fight between Usyk and Fury will now take place on May 18.

It’s an unfortunate situation, but boxing fans are no strangers to disappointment and delayed gratification.

Canelo splits with PBC, plans May 4 return with Jaime Munguia

Undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is still one of the absolute biggest stars in boxing, a status that gives him more power over the direction of his future than almost any other fighter. After Showtime Sports shut down, Premier Boxing Champions signed a deal with Amazon Prime Video for their events to be streamed on the service. There was an increasing concern among many insiders that Canelo, who had only fought one of the three fights on his PBC contract, and the promotion were close to parting ways.

That seemed increasingly likely as it seemed the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on an opponent for a planned May 4 date. Everything came to a head late in the month after multiple reports confirming the split.

Those reports also claim that Alvarez is targeting Jaime Munguia as his opponent for May 4. Munguia is a clear step down from what many fans wanted, which was a fight with top super middleweight contender David Benavidez or former undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Still, Munguia is an action fighter who should force an entertaining scrap if the deal gets done.

Garcia and Haney agree to April bout

Boxing saw many of its top stars set plans for their future during the month, which included Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney. The two young stars agreed to a fight on April 20 and have already begun a media tour promoting the event. The fight for Haney’s WBC junior welterweight title is sure to be a big box office attraction and will raise the winner’s profile significantly.

The undefeated Haney will be the favorite, especially considering Garcia came up short in his previous attempt to step up in a huge fight, a body shot knockout loss to Gervonta “Tank” Davis in early 2023. Despite that stumble, Garcia has been doing his part to hype up the fight with Haney, with both sides talking plenty of trash, including an altercation at Super Bowl radio row.

“It’s just a big opportunity for me,” Garcia said at a press event for the fight. “When I first came in the game I just wanted to make a bunch of money and then I did that. But now I want to go for the the legacy, I want to go for the belts. Devin is in the way, I’m on my vengeance arc. I’m ready to get back in blood in everything. So I’m coming straight for his neck, I promise you that. It’s going to be ugly.”

Benavidez plans move to light heavyweight for next bout

It appears that, once again, David Benavidez will not get the fight he’s been seeking with “Canelo” Alvarez. Benavidez is a two-time former WBC super middleweight champion and the current interim WBC super middleweight champ, making him one of Alvarez’s mandatory challengers. Alvarez has power beyond almost any other fighter, however, and is not as likely to be held to mandatory title defenses as others.

As a result, Benavidez is making the surprising move to jump up a division where he will fight former champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the WBC interim light heavyweight title. A win would make Benavidez the mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming fight between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.

Benavidez would then be mandatory for two undisputed champions, hopefully paving the way to get his shot at undisputed status one way or another.

“Tank” reportedly looking at Martin fight for spring or summer

If Alvarez isn’t the biggest star in the sport, it’s Gervonta “Tank” Davis. Davis has not fought since stopping Ryan Garcia in early 2023, following up the win with a stint in jail after violating the terms of his house arrest after a hit-and-run incident in 2020. Davis doesn’t have the deepest resume but has impressed at every turn.

It briefly appeared that Davis was looking to make a fight with Conor Benn after some back-and-forth chatter on social media. Instead, Davis will reportedly defend his WBA lightweight title against Frank Martin in late spring or early summer.

Davis vs. Martin is a solid fight, even if Martin faced some surprising struggles against Artem Harutyunyan in a WBC title eliminator in his lone 2023 bout. Martin then decided against going ahead with his guaranteed title shot with Shakur Stevenson. He will now step up for a shot at a different lightweight belt, in a fight that will make him significantly more money.

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