Devin Haney is the new undisputed lightweight champion of the world and looks set to be boxing’s latest superstar.
The American, 23, travelled to Melbourne to unify the division and soundly outpointed George Kambosos Jr in Australia. Haney took a unanimous (116-112, 116-112, 118-110) victory in a 12-round bout in front of 41,100 fans at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne on Saturday.
The win means the Las Vegas prodigy retains his WBC belt and takes the lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO crown from the 28-year-old Australian.
Haney took his record to 28-0 (15 KOs) and became the first undisputed lightweight champion since the late Pernell Whitaker in 1990. Haney is drawing comparisons with all-time great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Haney was forced to leave promoter Eddie Hearn and sign a contract with Top Rank in order to make the fight happen, took a pay cut, agreed to a rematch clause and even travelled to his opponent’s backyard without trainer, and father, Bill Haney.
But it was all worth it in the end as he showed his class by producing a masterful performance. He may not be a one-punch knockout artist, but the manner of Haney’s victory, his slickness and skill has drawn comparisons with ‘Money’ Mayweather.
Aged 11, Haney held up the Ring Magazine belt for Zab Judah ahead of the champion’s fight with Lucas Matthysse. Now, 12 years on, he holds all four major belts in the division. The childhood dream is achieved.
In an age of social media, Haney - through no fault of his own - was labelled by many as an ‘email champion’.
Having held the WBC interim title, he was upgraded to full champion status when Vasiliy Lomachenko was promoted to ‘franchise’ champion. Put simply, Haney became a fully-fledged world champion outside of the ring.
But the San Francisco fighter has now silenced his doubters. The two fighters shared mutual respect over social media following Haney’s win.
Kambosos Jr - who suffered his first defeat in 21 bouts – insists he will invoke the rematch clause, scheduled once again to take place in Australia.
Haney stuck to his jab for the majority of the fight, with Kambosos having trouble making adjustments to his opponent’s reach advantage and defensive manoeuvres.
Top lightweight contender Ryan Garcia was not impressed with Haney’s performance. Garcia returns to action next month against former world champion Javier Fortuna.
Garcia felt Haney’s performance was boring. “Congrats to Haney… but it was definitely just a bland fight. Anyways I’ll just say, you know who I want after Fortuna!!! Let them have their rematch lol. Absolutely “NyQuil” type of performance,” Garcia stated on social media.
It’s not the first time for the pair to trade words. At one point, Garcia and Haney were in line to fight each other - as Garcia had the WBC’s interim-title after knocking out Luke Campbell and Haney held the full WBC title at 135.
Before the fight was confirmed, Garcia vacated the title and momentarily walked away from the sport to focus on his mental health.
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