Can You Bet on Yourself in Boxing? Ryan Garcia’s $50 Million Payout Sparks Debate Among Fans

Published 04/23/2024, 8:25 AM EDT

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Despite what people thought would happen in the fight, Ryan Garcia knew what he was doing. The Victorville native didn’t just prove himself to be better than Devin Haney, he reportedly went home significantly richer. Going into the fight, Garcia convinced the world he wasn’t taking the fight seriously through his actions on social media. 

On top of that, Garcia had missed weight by 3.2 lbs, coming in at 143.2 pounds, further convincing everyone he wasn’t going to win. So, he had to pay Haney $1.5 million, as per their bet! However, by betting on himself at low odds, ‘The Flash’ Garcia made all that money back pretty quickly. According to a tweet from Boxing Kingdom after the fight, Garcia had placed a $2 million bet on himself that made him $12 million in return. Yet, a post from Garcia himself on Instagram today revealed that the fight as a whole yielded $50 million or more. 

A stroke of brilliance or a criminal act by Ryan Garcia


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Hours earlier, Ryan Garcia shared a post confirming the suggested $12 million payout from his bet was, in fact, true. In addition, he also wrote, “On top of what we made. EATING GOOD. About 50 million (probably more) in one night, not too shabby.” However, it begs the question: Can boxers bet on themselves? 

As per a report from David Purdum of ESPN, Floyd Mayweather attempted to place a bet on himself in 2017. It revealed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada State Athletic Commission didn’t have a specific rule against fighters placing bets on themselves. However, Garcia’s fight was in New York, so it’s yet to be seen whether he will have to face reciprocation. Nevertheless, Garcia’s post immediately sparked conversations about the legality of the situation. 

Fan alludes to Bill Haney’s bet during the Devin Haney fight

With such a master stroke executed so impressively, many fans came in hordes to express their thoughts about the situation. One user shared his revelation, claiming he didn’t know boxers can bet on themselves, whereas athletes in other sports can’t. The user wrote, “So boxers can gamble but no other professional sports can. Didn’t know that?” 


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A post shared by Ryan Garcia (@kingryan)


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Meanwhile, this user came out with some serious allegations, suggesting Bill Haney had placed a bet on his son because he knew the referee would help them win. “Bill Haney bet 2 million on himself [because] he thought the ref was going to save them,” wrote the user. Notably, the referee, Harvey Dock, chalked off the first knockout Garcia scored on Haney in the seventh round. However, there’s no evidence there was a collaboration between Dock and Bill.

Another user voiced his concern, claiming he thought such bets were illegal. The user commented, “Thought this was against the rules on gambling.” Only time will tell whether Garcia’s bet will prove to be illegal, since it’s all out in the open.

In the meantime, this user confidently announced that boxers placing bets on themselves is completely legal in boxing unlike baseball. “Of course it’s legal, it’s boxing not baseball!!! He fight for his life,” the user wrote. 


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Someone else, oblivious to the rules of the state, questioned the legality of the bet. The user wrote, “Is that legal.”

While there’s no clarity on the legality of Garcia’s bet on himself, he is still the underdog who defeated Devin Haney. And as per his tweets, he might be aiming for even bigger fights. Nevertheless, what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think Garcia’s move was legal? 


Written by:

Sudeep Sinha


One take at a time

Sudeep Sinha is a Boxing writer at EssentiallySports. His string of noteworthy coverages includes USA Boxing’s new controversial guidelines, Francis Ngannou’s stunning boxing debut, and Amanda Serrano’s tussle with the WBC. Sudeep continues to contribute valuable insights with his passionate understanding of the ins and outs of the sport.
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Edited by:

Snigdhaa Jaiswal