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Ryan Garcia knocks down Devin Haney three times to hand his amateur rival his first professional loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Garcia knocked down Devin Haney three times to hand the WBC super lightweight champion his first defeat. He won the fight Saturday night by majority decision, but not the title because he was over the weight limit.

Garcia’s strange behavior in public and on social media during the build-up led to questions about how serious he was about this fight. It seemed like he wasn’t spending enough time training when he was more than 3 pounds over the 140-pound limit on Friday.

But the speed and power in his hands were too much for Haney, who was injured from the opening round and went down in the seventh, 10th and 11th.

Garcia (25-1, 20 KOs) won with scores of 115-109 and 114-110 on two of the judges’ cards, while the third had 112-112.

The Associated Press scored the score 114-110 for Garcia.

The 25-year-olds from California split six fights as amateurs, but Haney had the stronger pro career, winning the undisputed lightweight title and then advancing to win the WBC belt in his first fight at 140 pounds.

Garcia couldn’t stomach that, but he took Haney’s perfect record. Haney fell to 31-1.

Haney had seemingly taken his place among the best fighters in the world, while it was easy to wonder if Garcia was overhyped. Garcia was stopped by Gervonta Davis in his biggest fight last year and expectations were that he would go down again even though he insisted he was ready to fight, despite appearing to spend more time on the internet than in the fitness center.

His performance proved that.

He rocked Haney with a big left hook in the opening round, and although Haney steadied himself and appeared to win the middle rounds, Garcia’s power emerged again in the seventh.

A straight left delivered the first knockdown and Haney struggled to regain his balance for the rest of the round. He went down twice more in the round, but neither was ruled a knockdown by the referee, who also took a point away from Garcia in the round for hitting during the break.

Does not matter. The knockdowns in the 10th and 11th were undeniable, and Garcia was able to spend most of the 12th taunting the champion.

It had been unclear from the start how excited Garcia was for the fight, which he lobbied to take place in Las Vegas even after it had already been announced for Brooklyn.

It became a non-title fight on Friday when Garcia weighed 143.2 pounds, 3.2 over the super lightweight limit. He didn’t seem bothered, posting messages on social media saying the extra weight would make him stronger, then drinking what appeared to be a bottle of beer on the scale during the ceremonial public weigh-in later in the afternoon.

But he looked like the fast-rising sensation from earlier in his career, with the crowd chanting his name as he began to dominate the closing rounds.

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AP boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing And https://twitter.com/AP_Sports