By Tim Royner: Devin Haney will be fighting four times in 2020, and he wants to face Vasily Lomachenko, Jorge Linares, Luke Campbell and Jose Pedraza, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn. It’s not looking too good for Haney (23-0, 15 KOs) getting a shot against WBA/WBA/WBC lightweight champion Lomachenko though, as his promoter Bob Arum isn’t interested in making the fight right now.
The plan is for Lomachenko to fight the winner of the December 14th contest between IBF 135-lb champion Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. Lomachenko will move down to super featherweight to go after the top guys in that weight class. Haney, 20, recently captured the interim WBC lightweight title by beating Zaur Abdullaev by a 4th round knockout on September 13.
The victory for Haney puts him in position to challenge for the WBC title against WBC champion Lomachenko. However, there’s a good chance that Haney will wind up being given the WBC title outside of the ring if/when Lomachenko vacates the belt or is elevated to WBC Franchise champion. Hearn thinks there’s a good chance that the WBC will give Lomachenko the Franchise tag, which will allow him to sidestep Haney and all the other contenders in the WBC’s top 15.
Haney wants Luke Campbell fight says Hearn
“Massive,” said Eddie Hearn to IFL TV about the turnout from fans to see Devin Haney in the UK. “You kind of underestimate the knowledge of the British fight fans. If this was in America, and it was open to the public, you wouldn’t get the turnout in America, and he’s American. So it was a massive turnout. When we were on the way over here, he said, ‘Is there anyone going to be there today?’ I said, ‘yeah, mate.’ I was thinking, ‘I hope so.’ They texted me to tell me that people are queuing outside.
“Luke Campbell is a big fight, which Luke Campbell fancies, and Devin Haney fancies. I think that whether it’s beating Lomachenko or Lomachenko being given the Franchise position [with the WBC], Devin Haney will be WBC World champion either at the end of the year or in early next year. So people like Campbell and those guys will have an opportunity to fight the champion to try and become a champion themselves. So he’s [Haney] got an amazing future ahead of him, and this week has been about mapping that out. That’s not just the KSI card on November 9th, but mapping out the future for Devin Haney, particularly in 2020,” said Hearn.
Hearn mentioned that he wants to put together the Haney-Campbell fight AFTER Haney wins the full WBC lightweight title. He believes that’ll happen in 2020, so the Boxing public won’t have to wait long for the Haney vs. Campbell fight to take place. It’s in Campbell’s best interest for him to face Haney sooner rather than later. Campbell is about to turn 33, and that’s old for the lightweight division. Most lightweights are over-the-hill by that age.
Haney is an American superstar says Hearn
“Big thanks to the fans for making him feel at home. Yeah always,” said Hearn when asked if he’s interested in having Haney fight in the UK. “He’s an American superstar, but we understand the importance of the UK market. They do as well. You’ve seen fighters like Lomachenko come over here recently. They want to come over and fight in the UK, and we can provide that to them.
Devin isn’t a superstar yet in the U.S, but he eventually could depending on the type of fights that Hearn sets him up with. Right now, Haney is still fighting fringe level guys like Zaur Abdullaev, Antonio Moran and Xolisani Ndongeni. To become a superstar in the United States, Haney must beat the likes of Lomachenko, Ryan Garcia, Teofimo Lopez, and Gervonta Davis.
Haney fights next on November 9th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. He’ll be facing a still to be determined opponent on the undercard of KSI vs. Logan Paul. Hearn says he wants to match Haney against a good fighter for that card, but not a great one. Haney will likely be facing a fringe contender near the bottom of the WBC’s rankings. He obviously would like to fight Ryan Garcia, but that’s not happening. Golden Boy Promotions isn’t about to let Garcia fight Haney. Hearn will likely look to match Haney against #12 WBC Jaider Parra or #13 Marcos Villasana Jr.
Hearn to try and force Lomachenko vs. Haney fight in 2020
“You just have to get the mix right with him being 20-years-old, and giving him the fights he wants now,” said Hearn about Haney. “The adviser in me will say, ‘you’re only 20. You’ve got the world as your oyster,’ but the fan in me will say, ‘Do you want Ryan Garcia now? Do you want [Gervonta] Tank [Davis]? Do you want Lomachenko? And, do you want Mikey Garcia? If you want them, then let’s go make them.” It’s just getting that mix. I believe he’s an amazing talent, and I think he’s going to be in all the mega-fights, probably across four or five weight classes, and that’s very exciting.
“Everyone is in an awkward position, because [Bob] Arum doesn’t want Lomachenko to fight Haney. Loma wants to fight the winner of Commey vs. Lopez, and rightfully so. He’ll be the undisputed, but if they make him the Franchise champion, he won’t be the undisputed. So how does it work?
“At the same time we’re going to be putting pressure on the WBC, Lomachenko and Top Rank to say, ‘Look, you can’t wait for May or June to fight the winner of Commey-Lopez. Can you fight Haney now? If you’re going to have an interim fight, why not fight your mandatory?’ Loma will fight anyone. But we want that fight to become bigger and bigger to make sure those kind of fights happen.
Hearn probably won’t have much luck in forcing Lomachenko to fight Haney in 2020. It’s not happening, because Top Rank has other plans for Loma.
Haney undecided who wins Haney vs. Campbell
“Who wins Devin Haney-Luke Campbell? I don’t know,” said Hearn. “Luke Campbell is a proven elite level fighter. I know he lost narrowly to [Jorge] Linares, and I know he lost to Lomachenko, but he’s an elite level lightweight. Devin is I believe [an elite level lightweight], but he has yet to fight a Linares or Lomachenko, so we have to find out if he’s the real deal,” said Hearn.
Hearn is obviously trying not to ruffle Luke Campbell’s feathers by predicting a victory for Haney against him. The 32-year-old Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) is a good fighter, but he’s been beaten three times in his career by Linares, Yvan Mendy and Lomachenko. There’s little chance that Mendy or Linares would beat Haney. Campbell is a good fighter, but his limitations have been shown repeatedly throughout his six-year professional career.
Happy Birthday @luke11campbell don’t get too hammered we have a fight in a few months! 😉👊🏽
— Devin Haney (@Realdevinhaney) September 27, 2019
Haney targeting Pedraza and Linares in 2020
“I believe a fight against Luke Campbell is a brilliant fight for British Boxing and U.S Boxing, and for both guys as well,” said Hearn. “It’s the type of fight that you want to be in, and it’s a big fight. [Jose] Pedraza, Linares, all these guys for Haney in 2020 are the guys he wants. He’s been dealing with those fringe level guys. [Zaur] Abdullaev, when I went to America last week, people told me, ‘Abdullaev has been in our gym in LA. This guy is dangerous, he’s a machine,’ and then Devin does that to him, and they say, ‘Ah, he was s— anyway. So you can’t really win. The truth is Abdullaev was unproven at the world level. So how do we even know that Abdullaev was an elite word class? Maybe he wasn’t, but we want to see him at the next level,” said Hearn.
Zaur Abdullaev came into the fight with Haney this month completely inexperienced. The Russian fighter had a nice 11-0 record, but his win was against journeyman Hank Lundy. Abdullaev barely beat Lundy, which should have been a red flag to people that he wasn’t as good as his record indicated.
Hearn: Haney won’t be fighting spectacular opponent on November 9
“So November 9 will be a solid fight, but it won’t be a spectacular fight,” said Hearn. “But it’ll be a chance, we talk about KSI and all this, there’s no better Audience to showcase Devin Haney to than that kind of Audience. Young, fresh, vibrant, a little bit different. We want to try and bring them into Boxing. Give them Devin Haney. Show them that this is a sport with great personalities, and great talent. That’ll be November 9th, and then he’ll box four times next year as well. He’s ready, he’s fresh as a daisy,” said Hearn about Haney.
It’s not surprising that Haney won’t be fighting a high caliber opponent on November 9. It takes a lot of work to find elite level guys to fight on short notice, and some of them might not like the idea of fighting on that card. KSI vs. Logan Paul is celebrity match between Youtube personalities. These aren’t boxers. Both guys are making their pro debut, and neither has fought as amateurs. A lot of Boxing fans see the fight as a pathetic joke.
Jorge Linares and Jose Pedraza are realistic fights for Haney in 2020, but it all depends on how good he looks in his next match on November 9th. If Haney blows away his opponent on that card, he may scare away Linares and Pedraza. Those are two aging veterans that have recently suffered losses. At this point in their careers, they cant afford to get beaten by a non-world champion.
Devin Haney sparred Ricky Burns this week
“He’s flown over here [the UK] to have a break,” said Hearn in talking about Haney. “He’s been training everyday. He sparred Ricky Burns yesterday, and then had a media workout. Brilliant,” said Hearn about how the sparring went between Haney and Burns. “You’ve got the young buck, and the experienced [veteran]. They only sparred six rounds.
“Ricky probably would have been better going 12, but you’ve got a guy [Haney] as sharp as they come in Devin Haney, and you’ve got a guy that is as experienced as they come in Ricky Burns. It was great work for both, because although Lee Selby is getting on, and doesn’t have the speed of Devin Haney, he’s still very fast, and tricky fighter.
“So for Ricky it was great sparring. And for Devin it was getting that experience. Devin and his father understand the value of great sparring. So they’ve traveled all over the world to get great sparring. We had a situation this week where, ‘It’s a shame that you’re not training, because we got Ricky Burns in camp and we [need sparring].’ Okay, we’ll do that,’ and just drove down to Brentwood, and got in there with Ricky Burns, and sparred six rounds when they were supposed to be on a vacation. It was priceless preparation. He’s a 365-day a year fighter in terms of lifestyle, preparation and work ethic. All that stuff,” said Hearn.
Former three division world champion Ricky Burns (43-7-1, 16 KOs) is up there in age at 36. Haney likely worked Burns over during their recent 6-round sparring match